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Brisbane Streetlevel runners making great strides in recovery

The Brisbane Streetlevel Salvos Striders are combining prayer, exercise, friendship and strong mental health.

Research shows that combining exercise with a supportive accountability group helps those recovering from addiction to stay sober and helps maintain stronger mental health.

Brisbane Streetlevel started a Salvo Striders running group last October. As well as training twice a week, they participate in the weekly park run in New Farm, on the banks of the Brisbane River.

“We know the science and add God into the equation,” said Lisa Kroon, Streetlevel Community Engagement Worker. “At Streetlevel Striders, we pray into our group, create a safe space and build friendships while exercising.”

Group numbers have been steadily growing since last year. They now have branded shirts and some Fitbits to improve performance, while a former rugby player, Michael, helps with training routines. They agreed to enter the Bridge to Brisbane fun run in August this year as a motivational goal and a fundraising opportunity for Streetlevel programs.

“It’s been life-changing because it gives me purpose, builds hope, and I eat better as I get fitter,” said Sean, one of the founding members of Streetlevel Striders.

A consistent theme among the runners is the encouragement and support they provide each other. They also talk about a new sense of purpose and taking the focus off themselves.

“This group inspires and motivates me to keep going,” said Hans, another driving force in the group. “I deal with life’s challenges a different way. We do things together and take time out to hear each other.”

Time and boredom are factors that make recovery more difficult, especially for those without work. Having to get up early for training and the park run gets their day off to a positive start. Experience has shown that doing exercise is an ideal replacement for addictive habits.

“The more I do it, the better I feel,” said Anthony. “It clears my head and stops me procrastinating because I can’t let the team down.”


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