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Making an Impact in Skid Row, Los Angeles

To all the runners, he’s “The Judge.”

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Mitchell, who is married with three grown children, started The Skid Row Running Club in 2012. 

It all began when a young man he had previously sentenced to prison, Roderick Brown, contacted him through the Midnight Mission. “For some reason he decided he liked the way I treated him, even though I sent him to prison,” Mitchell says. “He looked me up and introduced me to The Mission.”

As soon as Mitchell got there, he decided the best way to reach the people was through running. 

“There are so many little things that emanate from this very basic idea of just running,” he says.

Mitchell had been running for about 15 years when he started the club. He ran his first race because he was asked by his boss at the District Attorney’s Office to run a relay. It was too early in his career to say no, so he joined the team. It was a blessing—he’s a runner to the core now, even when he’s in the courtroom.

Under the black robe he wears on the bench, Mitchell is in a shirt and tie as you’d expect. But below the belt he’s in just his running shorts and shoes—he likes to change out of his robe quickly to maximize the time of his lunchtime run.

The club provides a running program for the Skid Row Community of Los Angeles and to involve the larger community in supporting its members in overcoming alcohol/drug abuse and achieving positive life goals. The club seeks to empower individuals seeking help by focusing on the following areas:

  1. Developing a dedicated running program to keep its participants focused on their health and the well-being of their fellow members.
  2. Providing mentor and mentee relationships amongst its members.
  3. Scheduling charity, fundraising, and volunteer events to enable the larger Los Angeles community to help those participating in the running program.
  4. Participating in local, national and international running events to provide participants with opportunities for personal growth by being exposed to new locales, cultures and people.
  5. To develop, within participants, a commitment to give back to others.

For more information, visit http://www.skidrowrunningclub.com/

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