Three years ago, Ryan ran her first NYC Marathon with the Run for Your Life team. In two days, she will be running her second. Returning to Odyssey House after a relapse earlier this year, Ryan is determined to make this time count. She sees this marathon as a symbol of her commitment to recovery and hopes her accomplishment will inspire others to challenge themselves.
Ryan has worked hard to improve her health – quitting smoking, eating healthier – and has found strength in the support of her team. “We don’t leave people behind. We’re always checking on each other, even in the program, to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves, physically and mentally.” As a returning runner, Ryan has taken a leadership role on the team. “I have grown so much in the past year. I’m not just a teammate, I’m a positive role model. My teammates even nicknamed me Coach Stevens!”
The marathon team has been an integral part of Ryan’s recovery. “Running has given me the inner strength and self-esteem I need to be my best self. Training for the marathon has made me realize that I need to set goals for myself; reaching my running goals has inspired me to reach for greater opportunities in life,” she says.
As a result of her increased ambitions, Ryan enrolled in a CASAC-T (Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee) program and plans to pursue a degree in social work and recreation therapy. “Run for Your Life has motivated me to stay connected and to be a positive mentor to others after treatment.”
To track Ryan’s progress throughout the marathon, download the official TCS NYC Marathon app and enter bib # 18957.