Running program aims to help WA homeless put first foot forward

19 Apr Running program aims to help WA homeless put first foot forward

Life has not always been easy for Ian, a former truck driver who counts himself among the homeless community.

15 years ago, he found himself entering a downward spiral which left him closer to sleeping on the streets than he ever thought possible.

While Ian’s marriage was breaking down around him, the father-of-three was involved in a trucking accident.

“I was lucky to escape with my life,” he said.

“I wasn’t physically hurt at all. But through the accident I sort of lost focus on my life, and ended up attempting suicide a number of times,” he said.

Eventually diagnosed with severe depression, Ian tried to start a new life in the US, only for the death of his then-girlfriend to send him back to a dark place.

By the start of 2015, he found himself back in Australia with just $200 to his name.

“That’s how I fell into the homeless system,” he said.

Forced to seek help at a homeless shelter in East Perth, he found an unlikely saviour in a bid to get his life back on track – running.

From homelessness to the Melbourne marathon

Ian joined a running group called On My Feet, a WA program which is working to combat the nation’s rising homeless population by getting people exercising.

Groups meet three nights a week for half-an-hour, and people who prove they can show up to each session are given employment and education opportunities.

Perth entrepreneur and avid runner Keegan Crage started the non-profit program last March, to give people in the homeless community the opportunity to join a running group.

“I would run past homeless people and wonder to myself, if I could feel this good when I ran why couldn’t they?” Mr Crage said.

“Truth is they can, and all they needed was a pair of shoes.”