When criminal court Judge Craig Mitchell starts a running club on LA’s notorious Skid Row and begins training a motley group of addicts and criminals to run marathons, lives begin to change. Directed by Mark Hayes, SKID ROW MARATHON follows Judge Mitchell and the members of the Midnight Mission Runners Club over a period of four years. The Judge, who suffers from a painful spinal condition, has been told by his doctors to stop running, but he chooses to ignore their advice. He needs the club and the balance it provides in his life, giving him the opportunity to change the world in a way that he can’t in his own courtroom. If club members stay clean, off the streets and out of jail, the Judge will take them around the world to run marathons. The runners fight the pull of addiction and homelessness at every turn. Not everyone crosses the finish line. Their story is one of hope, friendship and dignity.
Winner of over 20 film festival awards including the Audience Awards for Best Documentary Film at the LA Film Festival and Palm Springs International Film Festival, Skid Row Marathon will enjoy a theatrical release at Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena starting March 22, just two days ahead of the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon. Judge Mitchell and his running mates will be in attendance at screenings on opening night and throughout the week-long run for post-screening Q&As.
In Skid Row Marathon we meet: David Askew, who lived on the streets of LA for 10 years before cleaning up his act and moving into the Midnight Mission, became one of the first members of the running club. He is an aspiring artist and is trying to get his career off the ground; Ben Shirley, who was a professional musician who played bass guitar in a heavy metal band. Alcohol and drugs destroyed his career. After losing everything, he found himself on Skid Row. He joined the running club weighing nearly 300 lbs. His goal is to study music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and compose for film and TV; Rafael Cabrera, who is out on parole for a serious crime – murder. He has spent most of his life in prison, but now that he’s out, he is helping families of the incarcerated. Recently, he was arrested with some old gang bangers and may have his life sentence reinstated; Rebecca Hayes, who lived on the streets of Seattle with her infant son. She moved to LA to start over. She continued her drug use and drinking and wound up in the Midnight Mission family shelter. Rebecca thrives on the discipline of running and has been trying to get a job as a surgical technician; Originally from Senegal, Mody Diop was attending college in New York, when his academic career was derailed by drugs and alcohol. He joined the running club and it gave him a new purpose. With the help of a club mentor, Mody opened a small luggage store. However, he relapsed and began living on the street again.