They Fought a Good Fight, Finished the Course and Kept the Faith

The 2009 Baltimore Running Festival is over. Runners have all crossed the finish line and times are all recorded. Of course, one sad note for this year’s race was the passing away of one 23-year old male Marathon runner.

Our Helping Up Mission running team, in association with Back On My Feet, participated in every event. We had two guys, Barry and Johnny, running the full 26.2 mile Marathon; Josh ran the Half-Marathon (along with Executive Director Bob Gehman and me); Jesse, Mike and Harry ran the 5K (3.1 miles); and five guys ran on two separate Marathon relay teams – Mike and Jeremiah running 5.1 miles each, Travis running 7 miles and Robert and Rodney anchoring each relay at 7.3 miles.

We are very proud of them all. We saw them train and know how hard they worked. They succeeded and, while generally sore and tired today, it really felt good. Here at Helping Up Mission, we are also very grateful for our Back on My Feet friends. They have corporately and personally invested in the lives of our men for months and I know they are as proud of our guys’ accomplishments as we are.

And beyond the dozen runners, one hundred Spiritual Recovery Program members volunteered to assist in the Baltimore Running Festival. They did set up and registration during the week before the race and were up at 5:30 AM to set up and serve runners as they finished on race day. 

Everyone felt like they had done their part in contributing to the success of a great event for Helping Up Mission and the City of Baltimore. We supported each other and felt support from others, often people we had never met before. 

That’s what recovery is supposed to be about and what teamwork and commitment to a cause should look like. Today, everybody around here is pretty tired, but everybody also feels pretty good about the weekend. It is a nice feeling to step out of our comfort zones, stretch ourselves a little and be available to help others out and to give something back. 

Thank you for stepping up and supporting us, as well.  We really couldn’t have done our part this last week without it.


Pastor Gary Byers

Spiritual Life Director