Over the past decade, Odyssey House’s “Run for Your Life” program has trained more than 600 individuals for the grueling New York City Marathon. The skills needed to complete a marathon – organization, focus, persistence, and resilience – bear a remarkable resemblance to those required for a successful recovery journey.
This year, under the guidance of seasoned marathoners John Tavolacci, Chief Operating Officer, and Andre Mathews, Director of Recreational Services, 50 clients, alumni, staff, and friends undertook the physical and psychological challenge of conquering one of the world’s most demanding road races. Their triumphant performance yet again demonstrated that they possess the fortitude to conquer the streets of New York, both in marathon running and in their personal recovery journeys.
This year marked our third year as an official TCS New York City Marathon charity partner. Our charity runners came from as far away as Hong Kong to join our team and fundraise for Odyssey Foundation. With their help, Team Odyssey raised more than $70,000 to benefit the men, women, and families in our care.
Meet our runners
I’m an avid runner. I started running in high school, it’s one of my passions! Over the years, it has been a dream to run in the NYC Marathon. As a resident of NYC for over a decade, I’ve witnessed the city ebb and flow, battling persistent substance abuse and homelessness. It is indeed an honor and privilege to not only run in the NYC marathon but to do so for Odyssey House, an organization that is on the front line of making our city and its residents stronger and safer!
This is my first marathon! I’m running with Odyssey House in memory of my cousin, Michael. We tragically lost Michael in July 2022 to his battle with addiction. The last time I saw him, he was determined to make positive changes towards a healthier lifestyle. He told me he was eating healthier, working out more, and that he even started running.
I signed up for the NYC Marathon to raise funds and awareness for an organization that helps people battling substance use disorders as a way to honor my cousin. It has been very meaningful to team up with Odyssey House and give back to a cause that means so much to me and my family. It was the most incredible experience of my life. It was truly magical, and I enjoyed every single second!
Ryan and Brendan McCaffrey
We are excited to be running the NYC Marathon with Odyssey House this year! Finishing a marathon has been a goal for both of us, and we feel incredibly honored to be running for an organization that helps those struggling with substance use disorders.
Together, we are running in memory of our cousin Mike, who lost his battle with addiction in 2020. Mike was our older brother figure who stressed the importance of athletics and constantly pushed us to be the best versions of ourselves in all aspects of our lives. With the support of our friends and family, we are ready to make Mike proud.
My dad’s side of the family is from New York, and I’ve aspired to run this race since I saw him cross the finish line when I was a kid. I can’t imagine running this race in this city for a more appropriate cause.
Alcoholism has run through my extended family; both those who lost their battle with addiction and those who are on a path of sobriety have benefited greatly from organizations like Odyssey House. I’m so proud to dedicate this run and the associated fundraiser to an institution that provides critical therapy and care to New Yorkers who are struggling with addiction.
This is my second year running the NYC Marathon with Team Odyssey. I joined their team last year in memory of my brother Ed who passed away in 2018 after struggling with addiction for several years. While I never got to see what life would look like for him on the other side of his battle, it is super inspiring to run alongside those who have.
I am honored to be a part of this team, to celebrate those who are in recovery, and to advocate for those who are still struggling. I want as many people as possible to know about all the lives Odyssey House has already changed and to continue spreading the word about their work so that everyone who is looking for support can get the help they want and deserve.
Running has been such a wonderful new addition to my life. About a year ago, I found myself wanting a goal, structure, and a healthy outlet. I’ve discovered such wonderful benefits, mentally and physically, from immersing myself into the routine and welcoming community of New York City runners. Pushing myself to race in this year’s NYC Marathon is an absolute dream.
I am honored to race with Team Odyssey for my first-ever 26.2! As a mental health advocate and supporter of loved ones impacted by drug and alcohol abuse, I am deeply grateful for organizations like Odyssey House. Thank you for all your great work.