McLaren Cup returns to honor 15-year-old boy, raise awareness for suicide prevention

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. — This Saturday, the parents of a New Mexico teen are bringing back a CrossFit competition and fundraiser to raise awareness for a cause near and dear to them.

Five years ago, McLaren Jonas died by suicide. Now his parents, Suzanne and Tim Jonas, are bringing back the McLaren Cup competition as a fundraiser event to raise awareness for suicide prevention May 7.

“He loved riding dirt bikes,” said Suzanne Jonas, McLaren’s mom. “He loved animals.”

At 15 years old, McLaren Jonas – better known as Mac – was a typical teenager.

“He liked motorsports. He had his own car he saved up a bunch of money. He had his own car before he is even 16 years old,” remembered Tim Jonas, McLaren’s dad. “He loved his family, computers, gaming, he had lots of friends.”

Five years ago, in 2017, however, Mac died by suicide.

“He never talked about suicide, he was always a happy kid,” Tim described. “He had never gotten in fights. It didn’t seem like he was ever in trouble with it.”

Mac’s parents have since dedicated their lives to suicide prevention.

“It’s time to get over the stigma," Tim said. “It’s time to talk about these kinds of things and not try to keep it within your own household or within your own self or person.”

In 2019, they held the first McLaren Cup, a CrossFit competition and fundraiser.

“Our CrossFit community has just been wildly supportive of us,” Suzanne said.

The pandemic prevented any events over the past two years but, this Saturday, the McLaren Cup is back.

“One thing we really want to say to the youth today is that, if you’re feeling down, if you’re feeling overly lonely or lonely at all, reach out to somebody that you trust, reach out to your parents and to your teachers or counselors or even your friends,” Suzanne said. “What I would like to say to the friends is, if you have a friend who comes to you and says, ‘I’m feeling really down, I’m feeling like I don’t matter,’ don’t just blow it off.”

This year’s proceeds will go to Ten-82.

“Ten-82 supports the employees of first responders and their families,” Tim explained. “That includes police fire, EMS, military.”

Tim and Suzanne are each first responders. Suzanne is a nurse and Tim is a firefighter of 29 years. Since the pandemic, he says he’s seen a lot more troubled or lonely kids.

“When we lost McLaren, they were really really there for us,” Suzanne said.

“They called us, we didn’t even call them. They called us and said ‘what can we do for you?’," Tim recalled. "Suzanne just got a new job and they basically helped support her while she was able to until she was able to go back to work."

At the end of the event, both high schools in Rio Rancho will also compete.

“It was so amazing to see so many kids come out,” Suzanne said. “Afterwards, they all sat down on the grass – all the football players together – and they listened to us. It was just so, so wonderful and meaningful, so I know it’s gonna be even more so now after the pandemic.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, the National Suicide Hotline is 800-273-8255.

The McLaren Cup goes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the main Rio Rancho police station, at 500 Quantum Road. The event is being held in partnership with CrossFit Rio Rancho.

There will be food trucks and you don’t need to compete to take part. It’s $1 to go and $20 to compete in teams of two.