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The Big Issue teams up with Skid Row Marathon – a new documentary about a running club for homeless people in downtown Los Angeles

A new documentary following a running group for homeless people in the notorious area of downtown Los Angeles arrives in London for preview screenings this week, and the Big Issue is delighted to be on board as one of the film’s media partners.

Skid Row Marathon follows a running group formed by Craig Mitchell, a 61-year-old superior court judge who runs alongside homeless people and recovering addicts every week.

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Recovery and running go hand in hand

As a keen runner himself, Judge Mitchell offered to lead the Midnight Mission’s residents on regular runs around Los Angeles. Filmmakers Gabi and Mark Hayes spent three years tracking the group’s progress – producing this inspirational documentary.

Skid Row Marathon will then be in cinemas nationwide for a special one-night-only release on May 9 – with tickets and information about screenings available here.

“The film was very important for our participants because it conveyed to them that their lives are worth chronicling, they have a story that other people need to hear,” says Judge Mitchell.

“Oftentimes, we try to avoid looking at people who are homeless or addicted to drugs. We don’t want to know their stories. The film provided the exact opposite.”

Ben Shirley and Judge Craig Mitchell - Skid Row Marathon
Ben Shirley and Judge Craig Mitchell training in Los Angeles

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“I used to run when I was younger until my addiction wouldn’t allow me to do anything,” says Ben Shirley, a musician whose addictions led him to Skid Row. “Recovery and running go hand in hand.”

Runners from the group have now competed at marathons in Accra, Rome and Jerusalem, as well as in LA.

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“It makes perfect sense. We are all engaged in the same enterprise,” says Mitchell of his chosen charities.

“I have run about 70 marathons so far. And if you have run New York or Boston, there is an electricity in the air. I expect to counter that in London – I couldn’t be more thrilled to be running.”

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We have a pair of tickets to give away for the exclusive preview screening. Enter here for your chance to win