Viewing entries tagged
running

How come runners are so generous?

Comment

How come runners are so generous?

Most people who experience homelessness, addiction or incarceration have experienced unimaginable trauma at some point in their lives.  Numerous studies have confirmed this, adverse childhood events, ACE, can have a tremendous impact on a person's life trajectory.  This is true for many of the runners in the Skid Row Running Club who are in recovery.

People who have experienced trauma are often distrustful of other people and don't see the 'kindness' of others. 

On the Monday morning run after the Griffith Park Marathon Relay.  (Our club was given two free team entries from the folks at ARC.)  Several of our runners who are in recovery, commented on the generosity of the running community.  For example, when we set up our tents and tables for 'our' team, strangers came up to help us set up.  As the day progressed, we were invited to visit the tents of other teams and invited to partake in their feasts.  Other teams came up to us, after seeing our running outfits, and expressed their gratitude for our work in the community.  They asked if they could run with us in the future.

We set up next to the Long Beach Running Club.  They used PVC pipes to set up a gigantic tent in order to set up a food buffet in their space.  One of our runners said he ate the most delicious sandwich.  He said the spread they offered was amazing.

Other runners from our club noticed that even though the relay was a 'race.'  The racing was done in a competitive yet friendly environment.  Everyone was waiting in the chute for other teams, runners and cheered everyone on.

People who have experienced trauma and homelessness have usually 'learned' to become mistrustful of all people; people they love and especially strangers.  But at the Griffith Park Marathon Relay,  the runners in recovery experiened the generosity of runners.  This is something I have witnessed myself on countless occasions.

A quick shout out to our friends at The Running Charity, a UK running club founded to help youth age 16 - 25 who are at risk for homelessness.  They get it too.

Please leave a comment or a suggestion.  Is there anything you would like us to address?

 

Comment

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )
Why the Skid Row Running Club works

Comment

Why the Skid Row Running Club works

We are a community, a family.  We show up for each other and we genuinely care.  In the Skid Row Running Club income, status, social standing and occupation are irrelevant.  There is an atmosphere of non-judgment.

Many people in society feel constantly judged, as if they aren't good enough.  People in addiction recovery and experiencing homelessness especially feel this way.  Marginalized.

Feeling like you are not good enough and not worth of acceptance is very debilitating.  It makes it hard for you to become motivated to do anything postive.

In the Skid Row Running Club, lawyers, judges, LAPD Officers, executives, students, recovering addicts and the homeless run side by side.   Everyone that is out before the crack of dawn and pushing themselves physically is a person with admirable, redeeming qualities.  When that person learns to get up, show up and run again and again, they learn something about themselves.  In fact, we all do.

They learn that the are good enough, they learn that they are accepted for who they are and more importantly they learn the grit and resilience necessary to succeed in their lives as a result of running.  

Not everyone in recovery or experiencing homelessness is successful the first time, in fact it often takes several attempts.  Running is like that as well, but you learn to bounce back.   We members who have left our program, have left because of relapse or some other personal problem, they come back.  They come back because the know they are welcome and won't be judged.

That's why the Skid Row Running Club works.

Comment

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )
Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but...

Comment

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.

Comment

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )
Run by yourself and you may run fast, but run with others and you will go far

Comment

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. 

 

Comment

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )
Running is good for addiction recovery

Comment

Running is good for addiction recovery

There is no question that running has amazing health benefits.  It reduces blood pressure, lowers stress and provides great mental health benefits.

But did you also know that there is growing evidence that running is good for addiction recovery?

This is what the Skid Row Running Club has known all along.  Please click here to read a great article.

Comment

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )
The benefits of mentorship

Comment

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.

 

 

Comment

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )
Unofficial start of summer

Comment

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.

 

Comment

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )