When running a competitive race, there is no room for distractions. Only one thing can be on your mind: the road ahead. Each step brings you closer to the finish line. In many ways, that journey is similar to the one that a recovering addict must take.

In 2007, the two became one idea, as 15 participants of the Denver Rescue Mission’s New Life Program trained for and ran the Post-News Colorado Colfax Marathon. For several years, a team of New Life participants continued to run full and half marathons, and their focus and dedication directly led to the addition of a 5K fundraiser to the farm festival at the Mission’s Harvest Farm.

The site that would become Harvest Farm began as Mercy Farm—a commune in the 1970s and 1980s renowned for its pies. In 1988, the 209-acre farm was donated to the Mission and became a part of its New Life Program, which works with men and women who have suffered from addiction, abuse, or other hardships to redirect their lives.

Harvest Farm, located just north of Fort Collins in Wellington, offers a unique opportunity for 72 male New Life participants. Away from the distractions of the urban environment, those crucial first steps toward recovery remain in focus. The rural setting also allows participants to know what it feels like to be self-sufficient. They spend much of the 12- to 27-month program growing crops, raising livestock, and maintaining the facilities. Participants produce all their own food, and any excess is sold to the surrounding community.

Get Involved: The race will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 11. Registration is $30 per person, and all proceeds benefit DRM. To sign up, visit here.

—Photo courtesy of DRM photographer, Kirstin Hamrick.