Running helps man get off the streets and back on his feet - CBS46 News

Running helps man get off the streets and back on his feet

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Running isn't just a hobby for Jackie Marshall. It's a way of life.

"I just fell in love with it, you know," said Marshall.

The 52-year-old fell on hard times in 2011, lost his job and his home.

"I was struggling, literally struggling and I needed somewhere to go, so I came here," he said.

The veteran found shelter at the Salvation Army, and that's when a group called Back on My Feet found Marshall.

"Back on My Feet uses running as a means to promote self-sufficiency among people experiencing homelessness," said Tiffany Brennaman, program director for Back on My Feet Atlanta.

"I gave it a try and started loving it and I've been running ever since," Marshall said.

The group runs three times a week, which teaches the members self-discipline and focus.

"We don't care what happened yesterday, what your background may be - it doesn't matter. What matters is that you're here, you're a part of the community and everybody's going to accept you for who you are," Brennaman said.

And once they prove they're committed, members can get access to financial aid and help finding employment.

"I'm now back in school, trying to find a job, got my own place, and my whole life has been changed because of the situation right here," Marshall said.

His love for running has taken him farther than he ever dreamed. In the last year and a half, he completed two half marathons, eight 10Ks and a handful of 5Ks.

"I started running, then I ran another one, and another one, and I got to where every time we have one now, I want to run because it just seems so good for my life," he said.

Now, Marshall's training for the Publix Georgia Half Marathon and hopes to beat his previous time of 2:22.

"We call him the Running Buddha. Running with Jackie is almost a Zen experience because once he starts running he really gets in the zone," Brennaman said.

Marshall is now an alumni member of Back on My Feet, but he continues to run with the group, and gives his fellow members and the volunteers a lot of credit for his success.

"You got people that love to run, they love you running with them and that is why Back On My Feet is helping me get my life back together," Marshall said.

To get more information on the Publix Georgia Marathon, click here.

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