Not Your Usual ‘Recovery Run’: Kenneth Anderlitch runs across Texas
In and out of institutions Kenneth found running after coming into recovery and dealing with a bad break up about 5 years ago. Not only did this run give a whole new sense of life, but he submerged himself in a whole new community where running is life.
Only 3 months after his first run he took a stab at a 50k race. (Yeah, you heard that right- after 3 months.) This is just a little taste of how Kenneth Anderlitch’s mind works when it comes to endurance running.
On November 24, 2022, Ken set out on his run across Texas raising awareness for sober living and raised $50k for Pay it Forward, a non-profit that helped him get out of the streets and put him in a world where he had the tools to handle life outside of addiction. Ken threw down 45 miles a day for 20 days. Not to mention he averaged an 8:00/mi. pace for the 850-mile challenge which landed him the FKT for running across Texas.
rnnr had the awesome opportunity to talk with and interview Kenneth about his journey and his commitment to Pay it Forward.;
What drove the motivation to make this trans-Texas happen?
I think it was a domino effect. I saw somebody I knew who was older than me running 223 miles from Austin to Corpus Christie. I thought that was crazy!
I wanted to be out there to support him. There was no medal, no belt, and nobody at the finish line. It was all just for the simplicity of giving back and I wanted to give back in that magnitude. I wanted to feel that feeling.
850 miles, 45 miles a day at an average 8:00/mi pace for 20 days, what did that feel like?
The scary part is how after 20 days your body feels like it's something normal. After that, you just think, “well, I guess I’ve got another 45 miles tomorrow.” My basic human brain is telling me I can’t do it, that it is crazy, but my body was determined.
Once I started, I was shocked at how many people were following along. I knew I had to finish. I was in survival mode.
How much did you train for something like this?
I wasn’t training any differently than I would for a marathon. I never put it more than 75 or 80-miles a week.
I’ve learned that I am just not the type of person who does better with more miles. When I put in over 100 miles per week I get burnt out. My body is happier with 70-mile weeks.
Recovery, how has that been?
Right now, I’m just taking it easy. I’m grateful that I’m not running with any pain. I will ride my bike or run, but I’m enjoying just taking my time. I love my bed right now.
What kind of wild things did you experience while running through the wild west?
As I was getting out of West Texas and going into San Angelo, I was moving kind of slow. As I was walking, I looked down and saw a bag of weed just sitting there. I picked up the bag and thought about the poetic justice of it- that exact day I was celebrating my seventh year of sobriety.
There are so many stories, but one of the coolest things to me is that everyone who tagged along and supported me has their own stories.
Substance abuse, that's a wild ride. I'm glad you are here with us today. What was the last straw?
Seven years ago, before I got sober, I overdosed 10 times. I was a trash can junkie.
The last time I overdosed, I was in my car and took a bunch of sleeping pills along with like a fat shot of heroin, meth and everything I had on me.
I really wanted to kill myself right there. I had just gotten done breaking into a car and the police were coming. The family saw me right in front of the yard, and I was just waiting there in my car, waiting for the cops to show up.
I ended up being arrested and transported to the hospital. When I woke up I had a catheter and was handcuffed to the bed. They ended up letting me go.
You raised more than $50k for Pay it Forward, why them? And wow, how does that feel?
After six months of sobriety, I was able to get into a sober home. My biggest fear was not being able to afford it. I spoke with Pay It Forward about this and they said not to worry. They handed me a check to cover my first month and it allowed me to just take care of myself. After the first couple of weeks and getting acclimated to being outside of rehab and outside of detox, I was able to get settled in. I was able to get a job and save a little bit, all thanks to Pay It Forward helping fund my transition from a homeless shelter to sober living. They coached me into going back into the real world.
It takes about $200-$300 to help out a client trying to get housed, so potentially, 130 people will benefit through Pay it Forward from the $50K that was raised.
What's next for Kenneth Anderlitch after this FKT?
Everyone seems to be doing East Coast to West Coast but I’m thinking about running from the Capitol in Washington, D.C. to the Capitol of Texas. This could be running for a homeless bill or some similar cause.
Honestly though, I’m so tired of the road. It is just so unforgiving. Whether or not it is road or trail, there are a couple of ideas floating around in my head.