Our Team

We run on the energy of our volunteers.


Keith Johnston

founder, President, group leader-Medina and wadsworth

I've always been active but I did not begin serious distance running until age 48. I have completed numerous full marathons as well as shorter races. Throughout my life I have used exercise as a way to manage my mental health and addictions. In 2015, I was prompted to start this group because a friend of mine lost his son to heroin. I now have a passion to help others learn how to use exercise to improve their lives on all levels.


Llexi Tonkin

Membership coordinator, Group leader-Akron


Bernie Rochford

Secretary, Group leader-Akron

Bernie Rochford is Executive Vice President of Oriana House, Inc. and has worked for the agency since 1985.  He has been a runner most of his life beginning in high school.  He picked up the pace, so to speak, of his running when he turned 40.  Over the last 20 years he has run 10 marathons, countless half marathons and shorter races.  A hip replacement at the end of 2011 limits his races to a few half marathons a year and several shorter races.  Knowing how positively running has impacted his life, he is excited to bring running/walking to those who may not have had the experience of getting the blood flowing and the endorphins firing off in a good way.  He enjoys engaging people who are struggling with addiction and mental health in a supportive community environment of exercise.


Becky Thomas

Treasurer, Group leader-wadsworth

My name is Becky Thomas. I’m married with two grown children and two grandsons. I became involved with Running2bwell when my son started running with them. My husband and I started volunteering at 5K races he was in. I wanted to do more with helping people and being part of something that we believe in.


Roy Heger

Board member, Group leader-wadsworth CATS

“Running has helped me cope with the struggles in my life.”


Running has helped me cope with the struggles in my life. Denise and I both always just wanted that moment of peace. Running has been my escape. I really wish I had some more time to get that girl into some running shoes.

Feeling stronger mentally and physically.


Before I joined Running2BWell…I didn’t have much left that really made me happy anymore. The first night I went, I felt so welcomed and inspired. It was amazing! The energy in the room was like no other! We didn't even start working out yet and my anxiety was gone along with my motivation being restored!

I always come out of our group meetings with new knowledge, as well as feeling stronger mentally and physically.

My depression is at a minimum and I’m starting to enjoy things again, healthy things.

-Emily H.

"What did you just do?"


Jacob, started with his family, coming to our Lodi group in 2016. While we were writing out our goals he said

"I want to feel better and not think I'm a fatty who has never done anything"

Everyone's jaw dropped when he read his goal aloud. Fast forward 3 months after he finished his first ever 5k.  I asked him the question above and his answer was. "I just completed a 5K!" Yes sir you did!!! 


…showed me I could do anything

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“My name is Crystal. I started running to be well about 3 months ago it has changed my life in so many ways. I am in recovery from alcohol I have met so many wonderful people in this program and it has helped my recovery and keeps me sober. I ran my first 5k in September and I had 3 amazing people who pushed me to the finish line when I thought I couldn't they showed me I could do anything if I put my mind to it and they were right. Keith does the best Dad talks ever which help me motivate myself to always push harder thanks for giving me hope again.”


…designed as a "US" or "WE"


I so glad you started running 2b well and even more impressed how the group is designed as a "US" or "WE" component compared to a bunch of individuals gathering to run on Monday evenings.   In fact, running seems secondary to the connections generated during the meetings and even this past weekend unicorn race, which I considered a success especially for its first race ever.

I would like to thank Alyssa, Lexi, and You from the bottom of my heart for the passion, effort, and thoughtfulness each of you bring to the group weekly.

Since joining the group 9 weeks ago, I have run in 3 straight 5k races and getting a renewed interest in running again.  I'm mentioning the Monday evening group to as many people as I can that would benefit from the running groups vibe.

Thanks again!


Dad Talks

From time to time we share philosophical perspectives that might help to see things on a different level. Here's a collection, enjoy!


My 2 cents!

I found a penny (left) during one of our walk/runs today and it got me thinking. The one on the right came from my change stash in my car. Both are worth the same right? They both have intrinsic value. However, the roughed up one was barely recognizable; in fact, I almost didn't notice it. Also, the one on the left was not fulfilling its purpose as a penny. It was out of circulation. The roughed up penny was just starting to show signs of beauty in the patina that only comes from wear and tear. This beauty takes time to develop and effort to see.

Many people in our communities have been scarred by addiction and mental health struggles. They feel worthless and discarded because in some instances’ they've been told that lie. But, each person in this world has value and purpose. They've been given unique talents that the world needs. They also have beauty that will only truly be revealed after trials.

What to do about all this. Realize that we are all the one on the left. None of us are without dings and scars and all of us have beauty, purpose, and worth. Be on the look out to find another struggling with self-worth; pick them up, spend time with them, get them back in circulation. Make sure that they know their value. They need to know their value, purpose, and beauty because the world needs their talents.



Out of the gutter!

The other day I was cleaning out some roof gutters that apparently had not been cleaned in sometime. They were completely clogged with debris and even had large weeds growing in them. I also noticed several good-sized maple trees. This got me thinking. Those trees don’t stand a chance in their current situation. They may look healthy and vibrant but they are doomed. It won’t be long before their roots run out of room and nutrients. In fact, it’s a miracle that they could grow in that environment in the first place. I then started thinking about any of us struggling with addiction or mental health issues and how much we have in common with these trees. We all too often find ourselves in toxic relationships and hostile environments where we struggle to cope and survive. If we don’t change our surroundings we also are doomed. That’s our goal at Running2bwell; to change the environment for folks, to give some support, peace and encouragement.

So, I brought the tree home and planted it in a nice pot with fresh potting soil and gave it a good drink of water. I felt very proud of myself for “saving” this poor doomed tree. But then something strange happened. The tree began to wither and it looks like it won’t be too long before it drops its leaves. This reminded me of an even greater truth. Even when we do exactly what we are supposed to do, the results are never up to us. Paul said, “some plant the seed, some water it, but God makes it grow”. We still need to do our part but then we must leave the results up to God.

So now, having done my part, I wait. I am believing that this tree, even if it drops its leaves, will sprout and flourish in the spring. I also have faith to believe that the seeds that we are planting at Running2bwell will one-day sprout and flourish and many will find peace.


How was your day?

What a great question and we ask it so much that it has become routine. We usually answer “good, yours?” and then move on. But wait a minute, let’s stop and think about the question and carefully consider our answer.

First, thank you for asking. Thank you for caring about me and how my life has been since we last talked. Thank you for taking into consideration how I’m doing and being ready to listen and offer help.

But how do we score a day? The Olympics are currently on and we see the athletes judged down to that little hundredth that separates gold from silver. Their score is even subdivided into style and technical points. Can we think of our days that way as well? For instance, I had a 9.5 day emotionally but only a 7 physically making my cumulative score 8.25 (assuming equal weighting). So, if I had a rough day at school or work, I can make up for it physically by going for a walk or run. If I’m struggling physically (sick or just really tired), I can reach out to a friend for support to bring up the overall score for the day.

But perhaps the most important aspect is that I get to judge my day, no one else. My perception of my day is the critical thing here. I’m not only the judge of each category in my day I get to decide which categories are used to determine if my day was good or bad. I’m free to choose what makes a good day. How empowering! How hopeful is that?

Good, old fashioned, counting my blessings, simply taking stock of the good things that happened today is how I can “MAKE IT” a good day. You may have lost your job, failed a class, lost a close relationship but do you have the necessities of life (food, shelter, water), do you have any friends or family that can help, do you have opportunities to change and grow? The answer is always “yes”. The bottom line is that we all have the power to make it a good day because we are the judges with the score cards in our hands.

So, how was your day? Mine was pretty good:


Exercise benefits

Here are some articles/studies that link exercise and good mental health and sobriety:

Social aspects of exercise

These articles point to the importance of regular healthy, face to face interactions:

Positive Thinking

Your mind is a terrible thing to waste and it's like a muscle...use it or lose it!


Our Partners

A huge THANK YOU to the following organizations have supported us in many ways.  Please consider patronizing them.

Run to Share

Run to Share

Resurrection Church

Resurrection Church

Being a semi-serious runner and one who grew up in a household with many issues, I knew how exercise helped me.  Turns out that research has shown that I'm not alone. This was the genesis of Running2bwell

We are a grass roots organization founded to help those struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues develop healthier lifestyles.


  • Lead regular group run/walks or exercise classes,
  • Host informational sessions to learn proper training, stretching, and nutrition from local experts
  • Provide free shoes and race entries
  • Provide free exercise (cross-fit) classes.
  • Are open to all and we do not distinguish between those seeking help and those wishing to help.
  • Operate under the simple principle that we all have issues and we all have the responsibility to contribute.