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Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but...

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Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but...

in the ability to start over. 

I am frequently asked what the 'success' rate of your running club is.  First, I think the word 'success' is difficult to define in terms of addiction recovery and homelessness.  Second, our club is not a treatment provider nor do we explicitly provide social services.

Having said that, the 'success' rate of the Skid Row Running Club appears to be substantially higher than for the recovery community at large.  I say this because many of our members have maintained their sobriety for long periods of time, for the first time in their life.  That have found the self confidence to seize the narrative of their lives.  Is it solely because of the running club?  Of course not. 

The best success stories always work in conjunction with other groups, or communities if you will.  We are but one such community, but we are a strong one.   With AA and our running club, people have two strong yet distinct communities that are there for each other.

It's with the help of these communities, that members of our running club are able to get back on their feet.  Almost all of them eventually find gainful employment or return to school to learn a new trade.  It takes a community of like minded people to encourage and support each other.

There are members of our club that relapse back into drugs or homelessness, but they have more resiliency.  They bounce back faster and when they are ready, the Skid Row Running Club is there to welcome them back with open arms.

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Run by yourself and you may run fast, but run with others and you will go far

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Run by yourself and you may run fast, but run with others and you will go far

A lot of runners prefer to pound it out by themselves.  There is something meditative and relaxing in our hyper connected society where it's just you and the ground.

While running is an individual endeavor, I often think that it is best done in the context of a community.  There are certainly no shortages of running clubs here in Los Angeles, in fact it's easy to find one.  I encourage all runners to run with a group once in a while.  When you run and  engage in conversation, time seems to fly  and the activity itself becomes effortless.  Running with other runners pushes you to become a better runner and often times a better person.

Los Angeles County has a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.  We have the largest homeless population in California.  California has the highest percentage of homeless people in the United States.

While we are not the government, can't build housing and don't have the resources to help everyone experiencing homelessness, there is something all runners can do:  come down to Skid Row once in a while and run with us.

The idea of running in Skid Row, probably the poorest concentration of homeless individuals in California probably sounds appalling, but in the context of a running community it makes all the difference.

Our club shatters stereotypes and perceptions about homelessness.  In the Skid Row Running Club, you learn that everyone has a story.  Many in recovery, have gone thru trauma and circumstances you could never imagine and you realize that sometimes it's just sheer luck that you didn't have those tragedies visit you.  However, running teaches us to just keep moving forward one step at a time.  Show everyday and make something happen, even when you don't want to.

The Skid Row Running Club fosters consistency and persistence.  When you show up to run weekday mornings on Skid Row, you are showing that community that you care and you are making a difference in the lives of others and yourself.   Plato once said that you can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a lifetime of conversation. 

 

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Unofficial start of summer

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Unofficial start of summer

Usually we run on Mondays and Thursday in the early mornings.  However if the Monday happens to be a holiday (Holidays usually seem to fall on Mondays), we run the follow Tuesday.  Perhaps it was the long weekend and we hadn't seen each other in a while, but today we had a decent number of people show up.  We ran our usual route from the Midnight Mission thru the Arts District to the half way point at Hollenbeck Park in East Los Angeles, back thru Little Japantown.  Finally we finish and hang out at the intersection of 4th and Crocker St before we go onto our respective days. 

During today's run, I noticed an unusual amount of fires that had been put out, places were tents and shopping carts once were.

Everyone seemed really excited about the upcoming run this weekend.  We will have 5 teams participating in the Griffith Park Trail Relay Marathon.  Basically teams of 5 people take turns running the same difficult trail, until the team has completed 26.2 miles, which is the distance of a marathon.

Last year there was roughly 90 teams, meaning there was 450 runners or so.  After the races are over, running groups stick around and enjoy good food, drink and each other's company.

 

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