Meet Ronnie Goodman ~ A Runner With A Reason

A dream to run the San Francisco Half Marathon

What does it take to run and complete a half marathon? You might be quick to answer “endurance,” “training,” “passion,” “an entry fee,” “running shoes,” “a healthy diet,” or even “a good night’s sleep.”

We would like to introduce you to Ronnie Goodman. This short film “Every Runner Has A Reason” will get your attention.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

On July 27, 2014, Ronnie Goodman wore bib #25779

The San Francisco Chronicle offers a startling glimpse into Ronnie’s dream…

While most of the other 5,500 runners alongside him had slept in comfortable beds the night before, the 54-year-old Goodman had spent his usual night in a tent under Highway 101. He’s been homeless for two years, and his two passions while he looks for a place to live are painting in a rented studio every afternoon – and running every day.

The Chronicle wrote about Ronnie’s story earlier in the year and friends and readers were prompted to help cover the cost of new running shoes and the entry fee of $120. But Goodman made sure that he did his part, too. An artist, who paints scenes from the streets of San Francisco, Ronnie donated one of his paintings to be raffled off as a benefit for the Hospitality House. The raffle raised $10,000.

“I’m here to run…”

Ronnie Goodman admits that most of his young life was spent on drugs and getting into trouble. Cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin…and finally he found himself serving prison time for burglary.  He was released from prison five years ago and he has 10 years of sobriety. And as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous – recovery is possible…find your passion.  Now Ronnie has two passions: painting and running. And he is forever grateful to the homeless resource center, Hospitality House, which helped him hone his artistic abilities.

More about the Central City Hospitality House

If you have ever lived in San Francisco, then you may be familiar with the Hospitality House. According to their website:

‘Central City Hospitality House was founded in 1967, the year of the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco, when thousands of young people poured into the Bay Area to participate in the counterculture movement. Despite the positive energy this movement created, more than 3,000 of these youth found themselves living on the streets. Most of them survived by participating in the vice traffic in the low-income Tenderloin district. Concerned residents in the Tenderloin partnered with this struggling population to form Hospitality House, initially a simple drop-in space offering food and activities to help homeless youth “take an intermission from another night on the street.” By 1985, Hospitality House had developed into the multiple-program agency it is today. The agency has shifted its demographic focus to meet changing needs, transitioning from youth in the Tenderloin to now serving a predominantly adult population from San Francisco at large.’

The Hospitality House is an amazing place.  In 1971 they opened San Francisco’s first overnight shelter and it continues providing 25 ninety day beds. You are welcome to donate to the Hospitality House, volunteer and they even have some temporary and permanent employment positions available.

Some closing thoughts…

Recovery is a lot like running a marathon. It starts with one step. Each day you set a goal and your work towards that goal, one day at a time.  Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) always encourages members to share their experience, strength and hope. This is just one of the miracles of recovery. Mr. Goodman’s story will inspire many people for many reasons. We hope you will share his story with some of your friends, particularly if you have family members of friends who are struggling with addiction.

Start the conversation…every runner has a reason.

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