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[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#1e73be” size=”20″ font_weight=”inherit” font_style=”inhert” letter_spacing=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]The Running Charity, funded by The London Marathon Trust provides the UK’s first running-orientated programme for homeless and vulnerable young people.[/mk_fancy_title][mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.88)” size=”17″ font_weight=”inherit” font_style=”inhert” letter_spacing=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]When Steven Otlay first joined The Running Charity in 2013 he was malnourished.  He weighed just seven stone, he was rough sleeping and substance dependent.

Steven answered some questions and shares his story with us:[/mk_fancy_title]

What made you get into running?

I had never ran before I became a member of The Running Charity, they literally changed my life. When I joined them I was homeless, I was trying to recover from drug use and I was only 7 stone. The running gave me focus and The Running Charity gave me a new beginning and backed me all the way.

 

What has been your proudest/best running moment?

For me so far it has to be the obstacle race I did to graduate from the programme. It was the culmination of such hard work, I took part in all The Running Charity sessions and ran in my own time, the support the staff gave me was incredible, they helped me set goals, they encouraged me to deal with the problems I was going through. In the end I finished in 11th place out of 2000 runners, that moment was one really special, I knew that if I focused on something I could achieve it.

 

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced?

I have faced lots of challenges in my life but addiction has been the most difficult, mainly drugs and cigarettes, I’m now in recovery and have over a year of sobriety. Running has provided a platform for me to focus and when needed to zone out. I am able to process feelings, difficulties and channel my energy into something that is constructive and rewarding.

 

Who is your inspiration, and why?

Casey Neistat who is a vlogger and a passionate runner, he is just a regular guy and through hard work and being himself he has become a very successful individual.

 

What are your future goals?

The London Marathon is a big one and training is going really well, after I complete that I want to continue supporting The Running Charity and the incredible work it does with homeless young people. So next, I would say the New York Marathon is my next target. Professionally I want to start my own business within the food industry.

 

What would be your one piece of essential advice to someone looking to start up running? 

Don’t give up! You will only become stronger and have more fun as you’re able to run longer distances.

 

What is your favourite piece of running kit?

My running bag, it’s really practical and helps me on the longer runs

 

And finally, what’s your favourite thing about running?

The freedom felt while running is like nothing else, being able to run anywhere, anytime. It’s completely liberating.

 

Steven is now housed, employed a healthy 13 stone and a qualified personal trainer. The Running Charity works with young people aged 16-24 who are vulnerable and homeless. Their goal orientated programme supports individuals to address the underlying issues that can compound homelessness.

Steven is running The Virgin Money London Marathon to help the charity expand its work throughout the UK. Please support his efforts here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StevenOltay

For more information about The Running Charity or to get involved please check out their website www.therunningcharity.org

You can follow them on Social media here:

 

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