Viewing entries tagged
homelessness

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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What if everyone ran?

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What if everyone ran?

In Celebration of National Running Day on June 6, 2018, click here to see a study done 4 years ago on the benefits of running.   Not just for you, but the world.

Among the findings:

  • $130 billion in health care savings
  • $47 billion added to the national GDP
  • Nearly 2 billion pounds of total weight loss
  • 10 percent increase in household earning potential
  • 5 million fewer hospital visits
  • Up to 46 percent fewer homeless
  • 20 million more great grandmothers
  • 7 billion more hours spent outside
  • 63 million happier dogs

The best part of running is that it doesn't require special equipment and can be done anywhere, with anyone.  Plus it results in 46% fewer homeless.  The Skid Row Running Club is proof that the power of running can have on getting the homeless back on their feet.

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The benefits of mentorship

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The benefits of mentorship

On of the less heralded aspects of the Skid Row Running Club is our unofficial mentorship program.  As our humble club has grown in numbers, we are starting to attract people who are outside the Skid Row area.  We have lawyers, movie executives, doctors, professors, newspaper reports, and mental health workers among those who join us regularly for our runs.

When people run for long distances, conversations start and friendships are born.  In our running club, many of these friendships lead to informal mentorships, where someone who has more life experience in a given area, shares his or her wisdom to a 'mentee.'  These relationships last beyond our runs, or the context of the Skid Row Running Club.  Real change happens.  Many of our 'mentors' have helped 'mentees' get employment, back into school, or are just there to listen.

The picture for this post features one of our original runners, Rafael, giving a talk to our runners at Hollenbeck Park.  Rafael is a parolee, his crime: murder.  Yet he is one of the kindest, gentlest souls in the club.  He is also a role model and frequently offers assistance to anyone however he can, whether it be a car ride, giving encouraging phone call, helping other finds employment or establishing our community outreach programs.  Rafael is a big believer in given back and he encourages all of us to do the same.

 

 

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