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People recovering from addiction run virtual Flying Pig with City Gospel Mission team

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Posted at 10:14 AM, May 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-01 10:56:36-04

CINCINNATI — During what would have been the traditional Flying Pig Marathon weekend, those recovering from addiction laced up their jogging shoes Saturday for a virtual Flying Pig event.

City Gospel Mission in the West End hosted about a dozen people in recovery with the “Step Forward Team,” which combines training for the race or walk with addiction recovery.

The program’s 13th season kicked off Saturday morning, with some runners doing the 5K, 10K and half-marathon. The program’s director, David Pinson, said more than 600 people in recovery have participated in the Flying Pig. Training for something like this, he said, is similar to the journey toward recovery.

“These folks live with us for a year or two," he said. "You sign up for a race. You start training, there’s bumps and bruises along the way, there’s sore feet, sore knees. Same thing with people going through addiction recovery. They come, they’re scared to death… they go through a lot of bumps and bruises, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel, like there is a finish line with the race.”

Robin DeWard ran the 5K last year and is doing it again in 2021. She’s confident in her goal to beat her time last year.

“It’s freeing. It frees your mind. It makes you focus on nature and getting that exercise in that I didn’t do in my life, so it was very uplifting,” she said.

Tyler Woodland, who ran the 10K Saturday, said he's seen progress in both running and recovery this past year.

“They say that running releases dopamines in your brain. Being a previous addict, I think that’s the reason why I like it so much. They say it’s a runners high -- you get done, you might be tired but then you get pretty amped up still," he said.

Woodland also urged anyone looking getting help with addiction to pick up the phone and call.

“I’m blessed to be here. It’s a good program. And I couldn’t ask to be in a better spot right now," he said. "These guys have all kinds of connections that they can get your life turned around.”

MORE: Group of runners hold their own races in place of virtual Flying Pig