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Skid Row Running Club gets members fit, focused on health and bonded

Skid Row Running Club helps members overcome addiction and achieve
Skid Row Running Club helps members overcome addiction and achieve 02:34

The Skid Row Running Club was founded in 2012 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Mitchell and while running is the activity, mentorship, friendship and overcoming addiction are the life-changing side benefits. 

Three days each week, runners converge on Skid Row in the early morning hours to head out on a five-mile route that's both gritty and scenic -- across the 6th Street Bridge, to Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights, and then back across the 1st Street Bridge.

Most who run in the group have lived the street-life experience. The club is intended to form bonds among members and keep runners focused on their health.

"Every one of these people, at some point, their life had spiraled out of control, and they are now productive members of our community," Mitchell said. 

One of the members, Rebecca Hayes, was living on the streets of Los Angeles before the Midnight Mission and the running club changed her life. She is now a nurse.

"They built me up and they saw bigger things for my life that I couldn't see at the time," Hayes said. "I just never had never been athletic, my addiction had just got in the way of everything."     

Goal setting is important for the clus, as there's always something to train for. The running club trains for and runs marathons around the world, and is documented in the film "Skid Row Marathon."

Mitchell says the program and Midnight Mission have helped thousands of people get jobs, secure housing and stay sober.

"There is no substitute for feeling loved by other people, and that's what they get a dose of three times a week," Mitchell said.

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