Ex-drink and drug abuser to take on gruelling challenge for charity
A FORMER drink and drug abuser who was known for violence is taking part in a gruelling test of stamina for charity after turning his life around.
James Kurz, 34, of Ladysmith Road, Grimsby, is doing the Tough Mudder event – a 12-mile, military-style obstacle course – to raise money for the Grimsby Food Kitchen, in May.
On Sundays, James serves food at Open Door for the group, which provides a hot meal for people with drink or drug problems and the homeless – although he could easily have ended up on the other side of the counter.
James first dabbled with ecstasy and cocaine when he was just 16 years old and drunk heavily for most of his life.
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On nights out in Cleethorpes, he would often get into fights and his behaviour came to a head in 2010 when he was charged for drink-driving and assault.
However, it was the wake-up call he needed to change his ways.
James said: "I knew my behaviour was getting out of control and I was becoming quite depressed about it, but I just didn't feel capable of changing it.
"On a Monday morning, I would wake up feeling awful but I didn't know what to do about it and would just end up going out and getting wasted again.
"In 2010, I went out on a four-day bender and got in another fight and that's when I knew that I really needed to change – but I needed help to do it."
James' father had spent a large part of his life in and out of prison but turned his life around when he became a born-again Christian.
Mr Kurz added: "I had always had faith but never gone to church and I knew God's help was the only thing that could make me change – so my dad was the first person I rang."
James has now been baptised and volunteers for the food kitchen after meeting Cath and Ken Homewood – who started the group – at church.
He added: "I wanted to give something back.
"Cath and Ken are inspiring as they do what good Christians should – help people no matter what, without judging them."
Staying fit has helped James stay on the straight and narrow – he has also run a number of half-marathons and cycled coast to coast before the Tough Mudder challenge. And now, he is a totally new man.
He added: "The bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, 'if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation the old has gone the new has come' – and I know that is true because I feel better than ever."
If you would like to sponsor James for the event on Saturday, May 4, give him a call on 07900 891017.