Arizona man to run Mesa marathon 4 times in fundraising effort for people battling addictions

Addiction, whether it be to drugs or alcohol, can do a ton of damage and can be a struggle many people can't put behind them.

However, one Arizona man is choosing to, in a sense, run away from his past addictions, and start running for others who are going through the same fight he did.

"I'll get up three, four, five o'clock in the morning, average probably 40 miles (ca. 64 km) a week, 50 miles (ca. 80 km) a week," said Henry Ward, who is running four marathons, consecutively.

Ward says he has many reasons to get up and throw on his running shoes, and arguably the biggest reason is to keep him ahead of the demons from his past.

"I grew up being an alcoholic, an addict," said Ward. "I still am. There's no cure. I didn't want to be the way I was."

Ward received treatment in 2008, which he says ultimately saved his life.

A few years later, he found running, and it's become his maintenance plan for staying sober, and helps him live life on life's terms.

Now, he's running to help others stay on the right path.

"People that have anxiety, homeless people, people that are depressed, people that are manic don't want to be the way they are, but there's help and treatments," said Ward.

Ward is running in the "2020 Sprouts Mesa Marathon on Friday, where over 10,000 people will be taking part in several races over the course of the weekend. Ward, however, is taking it up a few notches by running a quad race, meaning he'll run the marathon course four consecutive times, for a total of 104.8 miles (ca. 169 km).

This feat, according to Ward, this shouldn't be too hard for him.

"Last year, I did the same thing and took a few wrong turns. Took a wrong turn from the beginning, ended up tacking on some bonus miles," said Ward.

This year, Ward is raising money for his Endurance Over Addiction Recovery Fund. The goal is to give back and help those who are struggling with any addiction, mental health issue or eating disorder, and show them that running and fitness worked for him, and it can help them stay on track as well.

"We're all in this together. We should help people. I have a gift. Running is a gift. I'd be selfish not to share my gift. I didn't want to share my story before. I didn't want people to know," said Ward. "By sharing my story, I'm giving someone courage to go get treatment, to get help, and ultimately, that's saving someone's life."