Speed Freaks - Running for Recovery

A short story from Odyssey House Mens Programme. OdysseyHouse held a programme how running affected these mens journey.
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Karen Fordyce - Fundraising Manager

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Jamie's Story

Inspired by his running coach Pete Watts, Jamie Hawker wanted to pay it forward. For the past two and a half years, he’s been sharing his love of running with the residents of Odyssey House.

The Speed Freaks running group offers men going through addiction recovery the opportunity to train and compete in events. Jamie’s voluntary commitment to their twice-weekly sessions has given the team the motivation to achieve not only their running goals, but their personal goals too.

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Thank you to the Christchurch City Council Innovation and Sustainability Fund for supporting this episode of Braveheart. 



Dirt Church Radio

Kia Ora Whanau. Under the umbrella of mental health, substance dependence has a place that is most often misunderstood, reviled, largely silent. There are judgements, myths, and a largely held view that somehow, substance dependence is a moral failing of the user. These views have been shown to be uninformed, unhelpful, and demonstrably false and ignore the simple fact that trauma, familial dislocation, isolation, socio-economic stress and the effects of post traumatic stress and mental ill health lie as the antecedents to dependence.
Odyssey House’s Otautahi (Christchurch) men’s programme provides residential rehabilitation for those who are struggling with substance
dependence. The community has begun a novel approach to enhance recovery and well being, a running group, The Speed Freaks, that trains together (with staff) and competes together. Jamie Hawker (Scotty’s dad) gives up his time to volunteer as a coach for the group and the men have taken on several events in Otautahi and are working towards their first trail
running event, the rater Rim 21km. We speak to Stephanie Schnoor, Odyssey House team leader, and Ray, one of the residents, about the programme, how it has benefited the well-being of not just the residents, but the staff, their backgrounds (ultra marathon and track and field respectively) and the challenges and rewards that living a life in recovery entails. Brave, real, insightful, this conversation was a privilege and we are beyond excited to bring it to you. We also issue a call to arms to consider mental health as a wider issue than just “Mental Health”, the way we act and think on many issues can impact on the wellbeing of ourselves and others. It’s beholden on all of us to
educate ourselves in how the systems that we operate within can make a positive or negative change to people’s (and our own) mental health. It’s Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori, we celebrate that, the racing results, GRE, a cheeky Stuff You Should Know and of course, a Brook Van Reenen update for the people. This episode of the pod cements that running, at its best, is pro-social, gratification-delaying, peaceful mass participation, and can play such a major role in people’s recovery and wellbeing. How good is that? Enjoy 

Community Events Waiver

Taking part in a Speed Freaks social event recognises that participation in running and walking is a potentially hazardous activity and you are aware of all risks associated with such participation, including, but not limited to, falls; contact with other participants, spectators, or others, or vehicular or other traffic; the effects of the weather, including heat and/or humidity, wind, cold, and wet or slippery surfaces; falling tree branches or other overhead objects; and the crowded nature and other conditions of the course, all such risks being known and appreciated by participants. By taking part you assume personal responsibility of any potential risks and hazards.