‘Runners For Recovery’ Join NY Marathon
Every November, the city of New York organizes one of the country’s biggest (and longest) marathons. Spanning nearly 30 miles, the united run through the Big Apple gathers tens of thousands of people; building unity and encouraging health and fitness. Well among the most recent set, there was a special group who decided to lace up their jogging shoes for a purpose. Team Odyssey House, as they are proudly called, consists of 45 dedicated runners; all of whom are using the event to promote and encourage sobriety.
This particular team ranges in age from 25 to 72 and they are not just people who made it through treatment. Some are recovery therapists, some are life coaches and others are close friends or family members; running in unison to support a loved one.
“It’s a miracle story,” House head John Tavolacci told the site. “This group, last year, some were in prison, now they are in the program running the New York City Marathon! I always tell people, society gave up on this group, I tell them everyone has given up on you. This is your opportunity to prove them wrong. This is part of their recovery.”
Tavolacci has participated in 22 NYC marathons over the past two decades. He added that part of the benefit comes from the training for everyone involved. Preparing for the lengthy run requires practice, discipline and a strict regimen; all tools that can help someone shift their focus away from addiction. In fact, exercise is a key component of almost all recovery treatments.
Tavolacci proudly added that this year’s marathon (which was held November 4th) brought together one of his biggest groups yet. Several Odyssey House alumni return year after year and John mentioned that he has seen over 500 clients compete since their team was formed in 2001.
Dubbed “The Runners for Recovery,” this buzzworthy group captured the attention of several local news outlets as well, including The New York Times.
“Through hard work with counselors and joining the running team, I’ve overcome my addiction,” Odyssey runner John Cane told The Times. “Running has become my passion. I help train new clients as a volunteer and hopefully they have the same experience I did. The hard work, the perseverance, the dedication it takes to run a marathon can cross over into your everyday life—as far as setting a goal, working toward that goal and achieving that goal.”