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Team Odyssey House runs for recovery

The feeling of accomplishment


Marathon runner

Kyle with COO John Tavolacci at the Poland Spring Kickoff race last week.

Nine months ago, if you’d asked Kyle, 30, if he’d be running the NYC Marathon, he would have laughed. Though he had been athletic his entire life, he was in a very different place then. That all changed when he came to Odyssey House.

Soon after entering treatment, Kyle joined WE R FIT!, our wellness program for clients, and became involved with our Run for Your Life team. Initially reluctant to get involved, he quickly found that he loves long distance running. “The feeling of accomplishment after a run – you can’t beat that,” he says. Kyle also discovered that it was benefiting more than just his physical health. “I have a history of anxiety and difficulty dealing with stress, and running helps me relax and cope in a healthier way.”

Training with the team has been a positive, motivating experience, keeping Kyle engaged in both running and treatment. In addition to marking his own successes, Kyle enjoys watching his teammates strive towards their goals. “It’s remarkable watching people progress as they commit to the program,” he says.

“Training with people who have marathon experience has been very helpful. I’m pretty excited to run, so I’m often tempted to run faster than I should at the start, but Andre and the mentors have helped me pace myself better.” On Sunday, Kyle will be running with a returning volunteer to guide him. He hopes to run an 8:30 mile, but in the end, it’s not how quickly he gets to the finish line that matters – only that he gets there.

“Why not give back?”

NYC marathon runner

Ainsley after his sixth NYC marathon in 2015.

When Ainsley, 29, entered Odyssey House in 2009, the only running he’d ever done was on the high school football field. By the time he’d completed treatment, he’d finished two marathons. This Sunday, Ainsley is about to run his seventh.

What keeps him coming back to train with the Run for Your Life team, five years after finishing treatment? “The excitement of watching people accomplish something this big is almost addictive!”

“I want to give people the same experience I had as a first-time marathoner,” he says. “It’s a great feeling to guide a new runner – showing them the ropes, supporting them on their journey. Andre and the team helped me so much, why not give back?”

Ainsley is running with Mike on Sunday and is looking forward to being by his side when he crosses his first marathon finish line. “I just want Mike to have fun – it’s not about speed or time, it’s about enjoying yourself and doing something you never thought you could or would ever do.”

Support Team Odyssey House!

On Sunday, November 6th, Kyle, Ainsley, and other 44 clients, staff, alumni, and volunteers will take on the NYC Marathon and they need your support. If you’re in NYC, stop by the Mile 19 Water Station (1st Ave between 115th-116th Streets) to hand out water to the marathon runners and cheer on our team! If you can’t make it but would like to support the team, please click here to make a donation.

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