In honor of National Recovery Month, Texas A&M Rec Sports and Health Promotion operations are collaborating to host a 5K Run for Recovery to educate students on and bring awareness on the topic of addiction recovery.
On Saturday, Oct. 16 at 8:30 a.m, the race will kick off at the Student Recreation Center and will feature a course throughout campus. The $5 entry fee pays for the race, a free shirt and helps support student employees working the event.
A&M Health Promotion Rec Sports said their goals are to raise awareness about addiction recovery and recovery services, encourage a sense of belonging among students in recovery and their allies and feature health benefits of being active, according to A&M Health Promotion specialist Megan Buck.
“When I started in my position a little over two years ago, my role in Health Promotion focused a lot on serving students in recovery, and I started to see other schools put on events like this,” Buck said. “I felt like this would be such a great way to bring visibility to the topic of recovery at Texas A&M.”
Recovery includes students who have struggled with substance abuse and addiction in the past and are now seeking a path to liberation from addictive behavior. Buck said college can sometimes be incompatible with a life of sobriety. A&M’s Health Promotion specialists believe that it is apparent there is a hidden population of individuals who are more prone to binge drinking and abusive relationships with substances than others.
“I hear a lot from students, ‘Just because I’m drinking right now, doesn’t mean I have a problem, this is just normal in college,’ but for a lot of students it is more serious than that,” Buck said. “College is a time that I really like to focus on wellbeing because there are a lot of resources available that aren’t available to you elsewhere, and for students in recovery there’s that added layer of challenge in just trying to exist on a college campus without being tempted to fall into addiction and substance abuse concerns.”
A&M Intramural Sports director Nick Heiar said the department is heavily involved in the production of this event. Heiar said approximately 13,000 students participate in intramural sports every year, and physical activity is the main value promoted through their department. The 5K Run for Recovery will be associated with the intramural sports association in order to further the goal of raising awareness of recovery.
“We believe in those goals,” Heiar said. “Those are the types of things that we communicate to our students who come through the Rec Center, and they also align with the goals, values and mission of Rec Sports. So, we want to jump on something like that immediately.”
According to Director of Rec Sports, Rick Hall, there is a record number of students experiencing various levels of crisis, anxiety and different mental challenges in day-to-day life. These problems can result in addiction, further causing dependency to substances for certain individuals. Hall also said education is of utmost importance when it comes to promoting recovery from addiction. The Health Promotion department believes raising awareness of recovery services will lead to making a difference, which is why the 5K Run for Recovery is a great way for students to get involved.
“As the director of Rec Sports I completely support this event, both as an opportunity to collaborate with other departments on campus, but also because of the cause,” Hall said. “It’s a very real cause and with wellbeing being a very important part moving forward with campus recreation, I think this fits in really well with our mission and [A&M’s] Core Values as we work toward wellness and wellbeing for all of our students.”