Last year Anna Griffis came to the 2010 Exodus Homes Running for Recovery celebration to congratulate Angela Hamilton for her success running the Boston Marathon and raising $25,000 for the faith-based United Way agency. She didn’t know then that she would be the one to cross the finish line in the 2011 Boston Marathon Running for Recovery, raising $10,000 for Exodus Homes with donations still coming in after the race. She struggled to run the race despite knee problems so that homeless recovering people returning to the community from treatment centers and prisons would get the support they need to learn a new way to live.
Anna lived in Hickory until last fall when she moved to Washington D.C. to work with chronically homeless people who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse. She is the daughter of Rev. Dr. Thomas Griffis, pastor of St. Lukes United Methodist church in Hickory.
“This was one of the more difficult races that I have ever run. The weather was perfect, support was incredible, and I truly had a blast doing what I love; however I took a huge risk by starting out much faster than planned, without having trained intensively over the last three months. Luckily I was able to maintain the pace for the most part throughout the race, but it was not without pain. Sixteen miles of downhill took a toll on my quads and calves, and my knee ached for about seven miles.
Honestly, Running for Exodus Homes got me through, especially the last two miles. I thought about my own consumers, and Exodus Homes residents. I thought about how I would be in pain for three and a half hours but how they have been struggling for days, weeks, months and years. It was a humbling experience. I am so incredibly grateful for Angela Hamilton giving me this opportunity to follow her in such a great effort, and for Rev. Susan Smith’s hard work in organizing everything. Even though the race is over for me, I know that it is not over for the millions of people who are still struggling to heal, and I will think of and pray for them each and every day.”
Anna finished the 26 mile marathon in 3 hours, 27 minutes and 53 seconds. This was much better than she anticipated. When the announcement was made at Exodus Homes that she had crossed the finish line, the residents and staff cheered in delight.
Ms. Griffis will be in Hickory on Saturday May 28, 2011 at 11:00am at Exodus Missionary Outreach Church, 1763 Highland Ave NE to thank all those who made gifts in the 2011 Running for Recovery Exodus Homes fund raiser. She will display the Running for Recovery banner that went to Boston with the names of all those who made a gift, and looks forward to meeting the residents of Exodus Homes who want to thank her for her tremendous run.