For a group of formerly homeless people, recovering from years of turmoil and addiction, part of staying clean and sober now involves lacing up a pair of sneakers.
“A lot of us ran from the law for many years, a lot of us ran from just life responsibilities in general,” said Scooter Sowle, one of the members of Team Mission, a group of runners within the Union Gospel Mission. Many of them spent time in the organization’s recovery programs.
Sowle, who was once homeless and addicted to heroin and alcohol, graduated from a mission recovery program in October 2016 and credits running with helping him achieve his goals.
“I have a sense of purpose; I have a community that loves me, supports me,” he said.
Sowle and about 80 others at the Union Gospel Mission are training for the upcoming Ragnar Northwest Passage, a grueling 200-mile relay race that takes teams from the Canadian border to Whidbey Island over the course of two days.
“We had someone who did the Ragnar last year, from the program, who said he felt like this was the first time he ever accomplished anything in his life,” said Peter Anderson, manager of corporate and foundation relations for the mission.
He helped launch Team Mission two and a half years ago. They train at the crack of down every Saturday and run 5ks and longer races throughout the year.
“We believe that we go farther together, we can go faster, we can do more together,” Anderson said.
The Ragnar relay starts July 14. More than 80 people from the Union Gospel Mission are running, including about 25 people who spent time in recovery.