Taking a 'turn for the better' with 5K Run for Recovery

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BRATTLEBORO — Recovery from substance use disorder can be compared in some ways to a 5K course designed for Turning Point's Second Annual Run for Recovery.

"You start to deal with emotions and start to live life really for the first time without substances, then it gets to a point where it's a little bit easier and you take the turn for the better, then it's all flat, smooth sailing," said Jedediah Popp, event coordinator. "At a certain point, it gets a heck of a lot easier."

Check-in for the walk and run starts at Turning Point at 39 Elm St. in Brattleboro at 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 8. The race begins at 10 a.m. The course goes up Williams Street and returns to Turning Point by going down Western Avenue. Prizes go to the top three male and female finishers. A raffle will follow the race.

The cost to enter is $20. To sign up, visit runsignup.com/tpwcrunforrecovery2019. Those who register by Aug. 30 will get a free T-shirt.

Last year's event included 85 participants and raised about $1,400 for Turning Point, a supportive gathering place for individuals looking to begin or strengthen their recovery after struggles with alcohol or drugs.

"We had such a great turnout last year," Popp said. "It kind of really surprised us all."

He sent out thank-you letters to supporters, crediting the community effort for the event's success. He looks at it as a way to promote good things happening locally and raise awareness around recovery.

"The whole goal of this event is to bring the community together for a positive, healthy, recovery-based event," he said. "With everything that's going on in our community lately, we hear a lot of negativity."

Another purpose of the event is to show people that recovery is possible.

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"Hope's a huge thing," Popp said, adding that last year showed him "there are people who care."

Popp said the event is designed so people can walk, run, bring kids or challenge themselves.

"It's professionally timed so runners who are working on their time, it fits into their schedule," he said. "It's a good way to keep track of how they're doing with their progress with that."

Vanessa Santana, 5K organizing committee member and recovery coach at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, said donations are being sought from sponsors. She hopes to add a couple of new ones this year.

Santana has also been busy making phone calls, working on a t-shirt design, and making and posting flyers.

"Turning Point has given me so much in my recovery that I felt I wanted to be part of something bigger and being on the committee was important for me," she said.

Popp had been Santana's recovery coach when she was in early recovery. While navigating the clean lifestyle, he found running to be helpful.

"Just seeing the way he's transformed his life in recovery was motivation for me to step in that direction," said Santana, who has quit smoking, and started running and eating better.

To sponsor the 5K, email Popp at jedediahpopp@gmail.com or call Turning Point Executive Director Suzie Walker at 802-257-5600.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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