Runners Stories


Judge Craig Mitchell

One of the defendants whom Judge Mitchell sentenced to prison approached him after his release. He asked the Judge to visit him at the Midnight Mission homeless shelter where he was living. After the visit, the Judge decided to start a running club. He thought that if he could get few of these men and women into shape and run marathons, the benefits would cross over into their personal lives. He promises those who stick with the program and stay clean, a free trip to run in an international marathon.

The Judge, who suffers from a painful spinal condition, has been told by his doctors to stop running. He chooses to ignore their advice. He needs the club and the balance it provides in his life. It gives him the opportunity to change the world in a way that he can’t in his own courtroom.


David Askew

David lived on the streets of LA for ten years before cleaning up his act and moving into the Midnight Mission. He was one of the first members of the running club. David is an aspiring artist and is trying to get his career off the ground.


Ben Shirley

Ben was a professional musician who played bass guitar in a heavy metal band. Alcohol and drugs destroyed his career. After losing everything, he found himself on Skid Row. He joined the running club weighing nearly 300 lbs. His goal is to study music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and compose for film and TV.


Rafael Cabrera

Rafael is out on parole for a serious crime – murder. He has spent most of his life in prison, but now that he’s out, he is helping families of the incarcerated. Recently, he was arrested with some old gang bangers and may have his life sentence reinstated. He looks to the running club to provide a sense of belonging that is missing from his life.


Rebecca Hayes

Rebecca lived on the streets of Seattle with her infant son. She moved to LA to start over. She continued her drug use and drinking and wound up in the Midnight Mission family shelter. Rebecca thrives on the discipline of running and has been trying to get a job as a surgical technician. She struggles to find someone willing to give her a chance despite her criminal history.


Mody Diop

Originally from Senegal, Mody was attending college in New York, when his academic career was derailed by drugs and alcohol. He joined a running club and it gave him a new purpose. With the help of a running club mentor, Mody opened a small luggage store. However, he relapsed and began living on the street again.