2020 was on track to be the biggest year yet for the Shepherd’s House Run for Recovery.
Coming off of a 1,600 runner strong event in 2019, the run – their biggest fundraiser of the year that allows the organization to provide substance addiction recovery assistance to men all around Kentucky – was (and is) essential to the program.
Then COVID-19 happened.
As everything around the world seemed to change, Shepherd’s House knew one thing: their services would be needed now more than ever. And those services would be even harder to give with a global pandemic disintegrating grants that once supplied Shepherd’s House with necessary funding.
But this run is about more than money.
KSR spoke with Roger Fox and Sheridan Sims, both representatives of Shepherd’s House. They’re also former residents of the program, so they know just how important the Run for Recovery is for those who have been touched in any way by the Shepherd’s House program and the community that it creates.
“Overdose calls are up,” said Fox, who spoke of the isolation those who are suffering with addiction may feel due to the pandemic.
Not only is Shepherd’s House concerned about maintaining the residents currently at their facility, but it is looking forward to the influx of residents that may occur post-COVID-19. The program is free of charge to any and all who wish to be a part of it, something Fox and Sims made clear they did not want to change.
So, they compromised. The run will go on in 2020. Just not at Keeneland like it has for the last 21 years. This year, it’s a virtual run. It is important to Shepherd’s House the run goes on, for those in a community that is feeling the effects of 2020 in full.
“Recovery is about community,” said Fox. Sadly, community is one thing that has been greatly affected by current conditions. Just because Run for Recovery attendees can’t meet all together doesn’t mean that sense of community has to completely disappear.
This run is a “new chance at life” for so many, according to Sims. What’s a global pandemic to stop it?
This year, the act of running has become less important, and an emphasis has been placed on assisting with donations to the program. So even if you aren’t a runner, you can help – no physical exercise is even necessary. There is even an online auction running from now until July 25th, which you can find here.
However, if you are a runner, this year’s run allows for more personal preference, allowing participants to run whenever and wherever they want to, any day from July 21-25. Runners can log their time on the R4RKY website.
The event only has 225 participants registered so far, a far cry from 2019’s numbers.
Sims reflected on how the run itself changed his life, demonstrating to him just how many people supported him on his road to recovery simply through their presence at the event. He emphasized the slogan, “Who are you running for?“, which has been in place for the last two years.
“Someone did it for me,” said Sims. This year should be no different.
Shepherd’s House 21st Annual Run for Recovery is July 21-25. If you are interested in donating, running or bidding in the auction, please visit here.