On Sunday, May 18th, eight men from The Harbor, our men’s addiction recovery program, successfully completed the Portland Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon! The guys trained for 14 weeks through rain, cold and occasional sun in order to fully prepare for the event.
“Training for this event gave me the opportunity to set a goal and accomplish that goal,” said Joseph, one of the Harbor runners. “Finishing the race gave me confidence in myself that I can actually set a goal and finish it. Before, in my recovery, I couldn’t do that. I’d fail a lot.”
Each runner is working toward total life recovery in our New Life Ministry program. Physical fitness – in addition to counseling, education and life skills training – is an integral part of the comprehensive program.
The Mission partnered with Up And Running Again, a non-profit that acts out the belief that if an addiction recovery resident can train to run a half marathon, then there’s nothing stopping them from reaching their other life goals.
“I’m 54 years old and have only been clean for 11 months,” said Jon, another runner. “From where I started, barely walking, to finishing a half marathon…crossing the finish line was an experience of pure joy.”
The experience training and completing the race gave each man a huge sense of accomplishment and also instilled important life values, such as perseverance, confidence, and teamwork.
“The camaraderie was really big. We all built each other up and pushed each other and said we could do it,” Mic said. “When one of us fell behind, we picked him up and said, ‘You got this.’ It was really great to see some of these people succeed that didn’t know if they were going to make it. They were the ones that pushed me more than anything.”
The men are using the momentum from this transformative and encouraging experience to launch them forward in their recovery process. The bond the runners formed during the training demonstrated the importance of accomplishing difficult tasks as a team, instead of doing it alone – a truth that goes much further than simply running a race.
“I’m so blessed that God gave us this team,” Sean said. “Running with the guys gave me the extra energy I needed. Just that camaraderie and brotherhood. Three words I’d use to describe my emotions after crossing the finish line? Elated, tired, and proud.”