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Lawyers sponsor run for a good cause: helping those in the court system to recover
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As a run up to Law Day, Gainesville lawyers are running for a cause.

The inaugural Run For Recovery will benefit Friends of Recovery, a local nonprofit that provides support for participants in Hall County’s drug court, family court, mental health court and DUI court. The 5K race, to be held on April 12 in downtown Gainesville, will be co-hosted by the Hall County Bar Association and Leadership Hall County.

One of the run’s organizers, Hall County public defender Ari Mathe, hopes the race will attract at least 200 runners, boosted in part by its affiliation with the Run and See Georgia Grand Prix, a calendar of races across the state that awards points for each event. The Run for Recovery is open to anyone age 10 and older for an entry fee of $20.

Mathe said Friends of Recovery was a worthy cause for an event that emphasizes public outreach from the legal community. The nonprofit provides loans for utility bills, transportation and donations of goods and services for men and women who are trying to overcome addictions or mental health issues while in the court system.

"It’s a small nonprofit that’s run really on a grass-roots level with the elbow grease of some good folks who believe in it," Mathe said. "We felt it would be a great thing for the legal community to be involved in, and it would be a great thing for the public to learn more about."

"It’s not just a financial assistance program; it’s a network of people that reteaches people how to live life clean and sober," Mathe said. "These folks have to learn a totally new way to conduct every aspect of their lives, and Friends of Recovery helps them do that on a personal, social level."

Local attorney Stephanie Woodard, chairwoman of Friends of Recovery, said the group has 30 outstanding loans that are in various stages of being paid back.

"Basically, the seed is growing," Woodard said.

Woodard said the run will serve dual purposes of raising money for the group while promoting healthy lifestyles for those helped by Friends of Recovery.

"We are so appreciative of the local bar for supporting Friends of Recovery and supporting the court participants, as well as promoting what’s healthy," she said.

The race begins at 8 a.m., with the staging area at Kenyon Plaza next to the Hall County Courthouse.

To register online, go to For more information, call 706-769-6593 or 770-297-3526.

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