Run 4 Recovery
Do you have what it takes to cycle across three separate states just to help a stranger or two? Don’t sweat it. Few folks do. Very few. Except, that is, the folks in Run 4 Recovery.
A good-guy-on-the-go named Robin McGeough founded Run 4 Recovery for one very simple reason: to give back to the recovery community to which he belongs. That was back in 2007. At the time, McGeough had been sober for 15 years. And he’d spent 13 of those years as the director of the Aurora Charter Oak Hospital, handling more than his fair share of psychiatric and chemical dependency problems. Then again, the Pasadena native was trained to handle such matters. See in addition to surviving a decade as a drunk and a half dozen years living on the streets, McGeough was also a certified drug and alcohol counselor. That’s right, McGeough was certified by the California Association of Alcohol/Drug Educators. More impressively, he’d earned his certification the way all the best recovery counselors earn it — he went straight back to school after rehab and worked for it.
Working with people who suffered like he did is what prompted McGeough to start Run 4 Recovery. “I’ve seen so much suffering in my work,” he told the Pasadena Star News. “Everyday, I see the parade of people who need to mend their broken lives. I was always wondering what I can do to help.”
Sober Home Help
Make that what more he can do to help. Remember, by this time McGeough was already working full-time to help addicts and alcoholics. In fact, it was there where he saw the need for extra help. McGeough kept hearing horrible sober home stories. Now he knew not every sober home was horrible. He also knew how vital sober homes could be to folks in recovery. So he decided to partner with Puente House Foundation.
“Sober living homes can be dangerous places of high crime,” McGeough said. “Puente is one of the few houses that does a good job of providing strict rules and mandatory testing.”
The moneys raised from Run 4 Recovery goes to scholarship those who can’t afford the life-saving services provided by places like Puente. This year’s Run 4 Recovery treks from the Sober Living Oregon Recovery Home in Portland to Puente House in Covina, California. That’s 1143 miles, point to point. Sounds like a long way until you consider how far people have to go before they get help.
The Run 4 Recovery 3
Lindsey Crowley and Mike Garcia joined McGeough on this year’s Run 4 Recovery. And the Bakersfield Californian caught the trio as they pulled into town.
In fact, the cyclists arrived at Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital to a hail of cheers from a large group of hospital employees, addiction treatment professionals and individuals in recovery. McGeough told the paper that the sight of so much support was a definite emotional high point.
“It’s so touching to see all of the people and the balloons and cheering,” McGeough said.
Sara Gonsolus was among those cheering Run 4 Recovery. Gonsolus is three-months sober and receiving treatment at local Amethyst Sober Living. She’s also one of the people helped my Run 4 Recovery.
“I was within a couple of days of having to move (out of Amethyst)” said Gonsolus. “Then I was told (a scholarship) would pay half of the rent for me and I cried tears of joy. It literally saved my life.”
That’s the Run 4 Recovery way. Each and every year the Oregon-based nonprofit raises thousands of dollars through various fitness-based challenges and then provides scholarships for recovery home housing and other services. Services that are especially crucial to the recovering men and women who are most vulnerable to relapse.
McGeough’s Facebook page shows a man overflowing with the joy one often finds in the long sober. But it’s not just his own joy we see (though of course there is an abundance of that); it’s the joy that springs from helping others succeed in sobriety.