America Strong: Women overcoming addiction train for a half-marathon

SPOKANE, Wash. — Right now, we’re celebrating America Strong stories from right here in our own community. One inspiring story comes from the Union Gospel Mission- Anna Ogden Hall.

This recovery shelter supports women, who are battling addiction and other issues. It helps them back on their own two feet. Every woman at Anna Ogden Hall has a story of their own, and Teri Anderson opened up to share hers. As you read on, you’ll see, she’s taking her recovery one step further.

” I came to Anna Ogden Hall to change my world,” Teri Anderson told us immediately. She said she needed a soul change and a whole internal change, to overcome addiction.

A lot can happen in one year and Anderson knows that better than most. There’s been a lot of change and she admits, it hasn’t been easy.

“It’s been up and down. It’s been a very humbling and very exciting and rewarding, but a lot of work, a lot of work,” she said as she smiled.

When she started at Anna Ogden Hall to get a new start in life, this first-time runner didn’t know it, but she’d also be picking up a new hobby during her time there. Now, she can barely believe the progress she’s made.

“Couldn’t even run five minutes on, five minutes off. Now I’m running 11 miles,” she exclaims.

“It’s called a Homeless to Half-Marathon training program.” For some people, this is exactly what it is. “I’ve heard so many crazy stories. Running along with a gal, she said, ‘Just a few months ago I was sleeping on a friend’s porch because I had nowhere to go. Now I’m at UGM and I’m training for a half marathon,” Kelly Klossner, the team coach, who works with Up and Running Again, explained.

Klossner gives every woman who is recovering at Anna Ogden Hall the opportunity to participate once a year. This marks his eighth time coaching women through the running program.

“It’s amazing to see that transformation. I get so much out of this personally. They inspire me because they’re coming from such difficult circumstances in their lives,” he said.

Anderson was one of seven who decided to step up and challenge themselves even further.

In the dark hours of the morning, she gets up, laces her shoes, and trains. She’s not just training for the half-marathon though. She’s also training for her future. She knows that the sacrifices she’s making now to complete a road race will help her on the road of life.

The discipline and perseverance that comes from the commitment it takes to run 13-miles have helped Anderson develop the confidence to take on a half-marathon, and life. “I can accomplish anything! Oh my gosh. Things I didn’t even know I could accomplish. I now know I can do that,” she told us.

Crossing the finish line in the race day will be one huge accomplishment in her renewed life- but she has big plans for what’s ahead, beyond that.  Anderson told us, “I just want to go back into the nursing field and become a productive member of society and just do good- and be a good human being and a good mom and a good grandmama.”

All seven women will start their 13.1-mile journey, together, in the Priest Lake Marathon, on September 25.

“I want to run to something, instead of away from something,” Anderson added.

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