Around 20,000 runners will take to the streets of Glasgow for this Sunday's Great Scottish Run (2 September) and for 150 of them, the race will highlight a significant turnaround in their lives. Recovery Runners are a team of runners recovering from alcohol or drug addictions and they will be taking part in the 10k race. As well as race places, the new athletes have been given Recovery Runner team vests and access to a weekly training group.
The man leading the team is New Horizon's, Henry Curran. The 60-year-old has completed several races since taking up running a few years ago, including a marathon in under three-and-a-half hours. So he knows how rewarding running can be.
He commented: "A lot of these guys couldn't look in a mirror before because they didn't like what they saw. Once you get them clean, they start to remember all the things they did and some of it is not very nice, so when they're running towards the finishing line and all these people are cheering, what a huge self-esteem boost that will be."
One runner, Peter Arthur, 36, is a recovered heroin addict. Having recently completed JogScotland's Jog Leader training course, Peter is now qualified to lead training sessions. He describes how joining the group has helped him get his life back on track: "Running has definitely helped me build new connections. There's a little squad I go out training with. And when I ran the Polaroid 10K last year, people were out on the streets, cheering us on. Apart from physical fitness, the discipline running's given me is great. I can't rely on anybody else - with running it's just me and the pavement."
Ian, 39, a recovering alcoholic, echoes Peter's thoughts: "That camaraderie - and a wee bit of competition in the group - helps motivate me. You never completely kick alcoholism - but it's been more than six months since my last drink. Keeping busy is a big help, and that's where running comes in. It really helps to have a goal to aim for."
Recovery Runners is funded by the Alcohol and Drug Partnership Communities Sub-Group. For more information visit the Glasgow Grand website.