My name is Mark, and I'm a 40-year-old recovering addict who lives with anxiety. At the age of 21, I was busted, disgusted and couldn't be trusted. At my “bottom,” I lived in a rinky-dink trailer with only candles, batteries, an alarm clock, and three couch cushions with the windows bolted shut! At the time I didn't take care of myself. I didn't love myself. I didn't shave, brush my teeth, shower, or anything like that. My social skills were at an animal level. Because I hit rock bottom, it didn’t take long before I got clean and stayed clean for awhile, but my anxiety took a toll on me, and my doctors wanted to institutionalize me. Right around the same time, I was running a couple miles here and there. I posted my running on Facebook, and a friend of mine asked me to train with him for the Rock 'n' Roll Savannah half marathon. Sure, why not? I told the doctors this running thing seems to with help the symptoms. I had hallucinations caused by my anxiety. The doctors gave me a three-month period to see how I'd do. I haven't been in a hospital since (2012).
I met my Runwell teammate, Chad Moye, a year later, and he invited me to meet up with Runwell at Gateway. At the time, I was actually drinking again, but after meeting and talking to Mike Martinez, I surrendered and put down the booze. I’ve been clean and sober ever since
But it wasn't just about me. It was about giving back. With Runwell, we take runners out every Tuesday at Gateway (a local treatment center in Jacksonville), and Mike heads it up. You can run, run/walk, or walk. Mike gets a feel for those not running full-time, and if they’d like to take it to the next level, he sends them to run with Chad, Kim and I. Runwell also signs up these runners for races if they commit to their running. I really like to see them grow, progress, and run. The only way we can keep what we have is by giving it away. Runners in Runwell come and go as they enter and finish treatment, but we know one thing...we plant the seed. It's always a blessing to see Runwell teammates at races. I like to watch a runner