It's about 9 a.m. on a crisp, cool, January morning in Denver. About fifteen men from the Denver Rescue Mission's New Life Program show up at the REI store at Confluence Park, downtown, for an eight mile training run.
I can't count the times I've told the story of what AIR does; training men from a long-term residential drug and alcohol treatment program to run marathons. That's an accomplishment in and of itself, but when you consider that many of these men were homeless less than six to nine months ago and that all of them have struggle(d) with life altering problems such as addiction, substance abuse, and incarceration, it's an even more phenomenal goal. Now consider that the training season is only six months. You could call it 'from less than zero to super hero'. The fun is just beginning. Tomorrow is the first ten mile training run. This is where the season gets tough.
How many people do you know that hang their dirty laundry on that brand new treadmill or exercise bike they purchased and used twice, or can't log in to that online training program that they purchased three months ago because they haven't used it since they bought it and don't remember the password?
Some people might say the men from this population are quitters. And perhaps there have been seasons in their lives where that's been the case. But I will also tell you that we are sharing a season of new hope, new inspiration, and new accomplishment with a group of men who are choosing to opt back in, who are applying themselves to the task of taking a new direction, and who are finding a way to believe in themselves and one another as perhaps never before in their lives.
Stay tuned. Be a part of it. Use the inspiration as the impetus for true change in your life. Share the experience with someone you care about. You will find, if you step outside the box, if you dare to share this season with us in any way, if you choose to believe, you too can join us in being a force of change in a new season of hope.