Saviour steps in

Hills Gazette - - NEWS - Lisa Thomas

IAN Brown (56) found his saviour from home­less­ness in a pair of run­ning shoes.

IAN Brown found his saviour from home­less­ness in a pair of run­ning shoes.

In 2015, the 56-yearold had just moved back to Perth af­ter liv­ing in the US for sev­eral years.

Af­ter sev­eral weeks of couch surf­ing and back­pack­ers ac­com­mo­da­tion, he found him­self in cri­sis ac­com­mo­da­tion at St Bartholomew’s House.

It was while there that Ian met Kee­gan Crage, the chair­man and founder of On My Feet, an or­gan­i­sa­tion which uses run­ning groups to im­prove men­tal and phys­i­cal health and cul­ti­vate so­cial con­nec­tions.

The next day Ian started run­ning and on his first at­tempt com­pleted a 3km run.

“The first night I was very worn out. I was in my 50s and didn’t have any run­ning ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

From there Ian ran three times a week with the group and ev­ery night for him­self. He has since com­pleted five marathons and sev­eral half-marathons.

“Next month is our three-year an­niver­sary of the Perth chap­ter and I’ll cel­e­brate over 6000km of run­ning,” he said.

“Run­ning and On My Feet changed my life. I was strug­gling with men­tal health is­sues when I met Kee­gan and I didn’t know what was go­ing to hap­pen to me or if I would find a job or hous­ing.”

Through On My Feet, Ian got work ex­pe­ri­ence with Food Res­cue and even­tu­ally a paid job with Se­cond Bite, where he still works to­day.

He se­cured in­de­pen­dent hous­ing and changed his life.

Now 59, Ian is the am­bas­sador for On My Feet for Aus­tralia and South Africa and is also the co­or­di­na­tor for the Perth chap­ter, man­ag­ing all train­ing ses­sions.

He said On My Feet gave him the love, sup­port and self-be­lief he needed.

“I never would be­lieve that I would be tak­ing part in marathons if you’d asked me a few years ago,” he said.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d485396

On My Feet am­bas­sador Ian Brown.

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