Mid-Week Musings: How Running Changes Lives

Hi all! Happy middle of the week! 🙂

So, I’m in several running related groups online and in my community, and often times there are people who share their stories of what got them into running.

I love hearing these stories. 

On one outlet, a man gave his testimony on how he was a recovered drug addict who had often lived on the streets and been in and out of jail and rehab for most of his life. It was in his most recent stint in prison where he picked up running and decided that when he got out, he’d run a 5k.

And he did.

He acquired a new addiction in running and found support (unsurprisingly) in the running community. Later on, he found himself in unfamiliar territory, on the first place podium. He found he was actually pretty good at this running thing.

The support in the online forum where he shared his story was so positive and it just made me thankful that there are places for people to go to get help, inspiration, motivation, positivity. With so much bad stuff happening in our world, it’s comforting knowing there’s hope around us despite it.

I had recently read in June’s edition of Runner’s World magazine an article where the author spent some time with prisoners in Oregon. The prison holds monthly seasonal runs and an annual half marathon for the inmates and it has become a cherished day for them. For many, it is all that they have to look forward to. For others, it’s what helps them become better people when they leave. (This is an online article in RW–different than the printable, and this is a separate article specific to the Oregon prison runs.)

As I’ve coincidently read several pieces related to this topic lately, I’ve learned that there’s quite a few places where people who are in positions of need can get help. There’s an awesome website called Racing for Recovery where people with addictions or recovering from one can get help and use running as a form of positive rehabilitation.

I’ve mentioned the I Run 4 program where miles are run for those who can’t. I think this is also a great way to help recover by helping others when those with addictions think they can help no one, as is often the case.

A simple search on google “race for recovery” brought up several pages of races devoted to the cause. There’s something about running for a cause you can really relate to that is extremely motivating and gratifying.

I’m a daughter of an addict. And while my dad is in a much better place in his life now, the choices he made early on influenced his relationships with people in his life, career paths he could’ve taken.

There’s help out there–on the pavement, on the trails, on the track.

Sometimes it is okay to run away from something.


I hope everyone has a great rest of the week! Friday is closer than you think 🙂 ❤ , helly

–Do you know someone who could benefit from programs like the ones I mentioned? 

–What other programs do you know of that people who need help could benefit from?


21 responses

  1. Running truly has saved my life, more than once. I’ve battled depression for decades, but when I decided to run my first half marathon in 2007, it seemed my life truly started over. Not without hiccups and heartache, but with lots of hard work I can finally say I kinda like me…and it’s all because I decided to change. 🙂 GREAT post.

  2. My friend, Bill, was introduced to me over a year ago at the Marshall Marathon. I was traveling with Bart Yasso, and they were friends. Bill spent 15 years in federal prison. While there, he picked up running and would log 70 mile weeks around the prison yard – basically, a half mile track. Over and over and over. He now runs 3:11 marathons and just qualified for Boston. He’s also one of the most genuine and kind people I know – and I believe it’s all from running. It really does change lives!

  3. Thank you for sharing this. It’s hard when you see loved ones not wanting to make a positive change or not be able to see how their actions affect those around them, but I loved the story of how that man changed his life with running. It can inspire others and give hope to families of those with addictive behaviors. Have a great week Helly:)<3

  4. Runners World just had an article about convicts running, and a few years ago they did one about studies and testing of the efficacy of running in the treatment of PTSD. I know that running has changed my life and my ability to regulate my Crohn’s as well as my anxiety and depression–I’m still medicated, because, like my Crohn’s, my body can’t sustain itself through healthy living alone, but I know that I would be far worse off without it.

  5. Running is my therapy. I’ve struggled with mental health issues for a good chunk of my life. Taking up running has really helped to keep me in balance. Bad days come but when they do, I just put the run to them. 🙂 I’m #2879 on the waiting list for I Run 4! Can’t wait to get my match.

  6. I read the same prison article in RW and was amazed and happy at the power running has given so many to turn their lives around, giving them something positive to focus their energy and efforts on. I think it can help so many people with all kinds of “issues” and it further shows how strong the running community is that “we” embrace everyone!

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