Kristi has always been a runner. She liked the physical and mental health benefits of the sport, and used it as a way to process her emotions.

Over time, her healthy habit diminished as she was abused and became addicted to alcohol. In 2008, Kristi and her son moved from New Hampshire to leave the domestic abuse and alcohol addiction behind. But she wasn’t able to find her footing in her first five years in St. Petersburg.

She jumped from job to job and took a few classes, but she couldn’t commit to one path. And her new friends and her alcohol addiction kept her from connecting with her family.

Kristi was hopeless. She didn’t recognize the person in the mirror and she couldn’t picture a healthy, sober and productive life. She was arrested twice, and realized it was time to make a change.

She completed a substance abuse program, then she was accepted to St. Petersburg Free Clinic’s Virginia and David Baldwin Women’s Residence, which provides a safe place for women to live while they develop the skills necessary for independent living.

At the Women’s Residence, Kristi has a home – and hope. She has the freedom to imagine the life that she desires, assistance in learning life skills and connections with other women who are working toward self-sufficiency.

This summer, Kristi started running again. First it was a way to work on herself, but then she got the opportunity to participate in St. Pete Run Fest, a three-day festival that includes running events. She committed to run the Run Fest’s 10K with training and guidance from St. Pete Running Company. The running coaches developed a training plan for her, which she completed each day after work, and she joined some of the group runs leading up into the event.

Her hard work and dedication helped her to successfully complete her very first 10K in November. Like her recovery, Kristi accomplished something that she previously didn’t think was possible. Completing the race gave her a sense of accomplishment and helped her develop self-confidence.

Kristi now has hope for her future with the help of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic and its Women’s Residence.