Running to Recovery: How a Lincoln woman is helping recovering addicts one mile at a time

Published: Oct. 20, 2019 at 9:36 PM CDT
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Sunday, Billy Petracek, a Lincoln man, finished his first ultramarathon, 31 miles, in less than six hours.

He's only been running for about a year, and got his start in an unlikely place.

"I've been battling with addiction for most of my life," Petracek said.

In the summer of 2018, he sought treatment and entered the residential program at The Bridge Behavioral Health.

There- everything changed.

Petracek started running.

"I would have never guessed in a million years," Petracek said.

He got his start thanks to Ann Ringlein, and her passion for sharing her love of running.

Ringlein starts her mornings three times a week at The Bridge, running with the men in the residential treatment program.

"Sometimes we'll have 5 or 6 guys out running, sometimes it's just me and one other guy, or sometimes everyone walks," Ringlein said. "But they're all moving and that's what's exciting."

The men run or walk a two-mile loop with Ringlein, and she said the benefits she sees are more than just physical.

"They love it and are so proud of themselves because they did something, they did they accomplished it, nobody else," Ringlein said.

It's where Petracek got his start.

"At first I didn't take to it, I didn't like it. I never really ran til I went there, just decided to try something new you know I was changing my whole way of life," Petracek said.

Now, he's finished 5K's, half-marathons, a marathon and now an ultramarathon - and he's not stopping there.

"I'm just going to keep going," Petracek said.

His advice to the men in the program he finished just a year ago: "Just give it a chance."