Episode 59 - Speed Freaks


Kia Ora Whanau. Under the umbrella of mental health, substance dependence has a place that is most often misunderstood, reviled, largely silent. There are judgements, myths, and a largely held view that somehow, substance dependence is a moral failing of the user. These views have been shown to be uninformed, unhelpful, and demonstrably false and ignore the simple fact that trauma, familial dislocation, isolation, socio-economic stress and the effects of post traumatic stress and mental ill health lie as the antecedents to dependence. Odyssey House’s Otautahi (Christchurch) men’s programme provides residential rehabilitation for those who are struggling with substance dependence. The community has begun a novel approach to enhance recovery and well being, a running group, The Speed Freaks, that trains together (with staff) and competes together. Jamie Hawker (Scotty’s dad) gives up his time to volunteer as a coach for the group and the men have taken on several events in Otautahi and are working towards their first trail running event, the Crater Rim 21km. We speak to Stephanie Schnoor, Odyssey House team leader, and Ray, one of the residents, about the programme, how it has benefited the well-being of not just the residents, but the staff, their backgrounds (ultra marathon and track and field respectively) and the challenges and rewards that living a life in recovery entails. Brave, real, insightful, this conversation was a privilege and we are beyond excited to bring it to you. We also issue a call to arms to consider mental health as a wider issue than just “Mental Health”, the way we act and think on many issues can impact on the wellbeing of ourselves and others. It’s beholden on all of us to educate ourselves in how the systems that we operate within can make a positive or negative change to people’s (and our own) mental health. It’s Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori, we celebrate that, the racing results, GRE, a cheeky Stuff You Should Know and of course, a Brook Van Reenen update for the people. This episode of the pod cements that running, at its best, is pro-social, gratification-delaying, peaceful mass participation, and can play such a major role in people’s recovery and wellbeing. How good is that? Enjoy 

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Episode Links

Odyssey House New Zealand





If anyone would like further information or to offer support for the Speed Freaks, contact 

Anna Christophorou – Operations Manager


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Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand 

Chris Swallow - Memorial Fund - Givealittle


Our Glorious Sponsors


Further Faster New Zealand

Ultraspire NZ

Spring Energy NZ

Music: Chances with Wolves

Editing assistance: Kieran Bingham

Sit Back, Subscribe, and Enjoy!

Eugene BinghamComment