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Portland man running Hood to Coast with Portland Rescue Mission team as part of recovery: 'I have a purpose'

The "Mother of All Relays" is fast approaching and as runners count down the minutes, Chad Seelye might be a little more excited to compete than the rest.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Chad Seelye, homeless for several years, finally found help and hope with Portland Rescue Mission. He worked hard at recovery — and running became a big part of that journey.

"There is a program called Up and Running Again that we work with," he said. "What it does is it trains you physically, mentally, along with the other spiritual parts of the program, to just do hard things."

Through that, Seelye completed a half marathon. Now, he's on to his second Hood To Coast race, this time with the Portland Rescue Mission team. He did not expect to be running with a purpose, or for a cause, just a few years ago. 

"I was couch-surfing and homeless for probably three years, three to five years," he said. "What really brought me to my bottom was realizing a need for community. Finding myself isolated and alone.

"Now I have a purpose, to share the message that it is possible to recover and to have long-term life transformation. It's been a hard road, but it's a good road. And the physical part of it is just a step in the direction of a new life."

RELATED: Hood to Coast Relay wraps up its 40th running in Seaside on Saturday (2022)

Seelye is one of 12 runners on the team, which includes Portland Rescue Mission staff, volunteers, board members and program graduates. 

"We've been planning for this team for over a year now," said team captain Allison Parris. "We are just excited to run."

She said a group from the organization ran last year but she calls that a trial run. 

"This year, we saw other organizations make it a fundraiser and we thought, 'why not get the word out, through Hood to Coast, about what we do, and share stories of hope and how people's lives have been transformed?'" she said.

For Hood To Coast 2023, they're doing just that, and hoping to raise $20,000 to provide food, shelter and care to thousands struggling with homelessness and addiction in Portland. 

"I went through the program, so I understand what the program has to offer," Seelye said. "Now, being able to run for that purpose, to help others experience that, is something that is really dear to my heart."

RELATED: City removing homeless camps along Springwater Corridor ahead of Hood to Coast

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