Friday, April 30, 2010

That & A Lot of Spare Change Will Get Ya a Pair of Running Shoes

So I'd vowed--publicly--back in early April to donate $1 for every mile I log training for the MCM to meeting my fundraising goal for Back On My Feet. I conscientiously logged every mile and did the math today (but they said there would be no math!!) and came up with 104 for April. Not stellar, but not bad for the month dedicated to getting over the Snowpocolypse slump before the real training begins.

They say that the beauty of running is that there's a low bar to entry. Anybody can do it, you don't need a field or a court or even a ball. It can be done alone or in groups, and it travels well. (Have you ever tried to pack up a bike for a work trip? Then you know what I'm talking about here.) And yet, it isn't really something that just anybody can pick up and do one day. Not if they don't want to hurt themselves. Yeah, you can run in a cotton t-shirt and not a fancy schmantzy super-wicking space-age-fibers thing. And, sure, you can pull out those old gym shorts and make do with those rather than super slick running tights complete with specialized compression fabrics to massage your quads while you run. But the fact is, if you run in crappy shoes you're going down. And let me tell you, running shoes are spendy. Potentially, really really spendy. (We only have one car, largely due to my running shoe budget, I think.)

This $104 I'm putting in the pot today will cover the cost of a pair of shoes for one of the Back On My Feet residential members. The $2500 I'm trying to raise overall will cover the costs of equipment and scholarships for about 1.5 members over the course of a year. Enough to change the world? Enough to offset all the challenges of finding oneself homeless? Nah. But enough to get somebody like Kevin on the road. When BOMF and its running store partner, Pacers, suited up K. he got a super cool pair of bright yellow running shoes. BRIGHT YELLOW. We all gave him kind of a hard time about it on the first day. "Put Kevin out front so he can light the way!" "Hey, where's K.? I'm blinded by some bright-ass shoes!" But K.--who will be pretty up front with you about his former drug problems and having done a couple of stints in jail in his time--had a smile that outshone those shoes when he finished his first mile. And he's shown up every run since so that he can earn points toward getting grant money to go get his GED.

Today I hit more than 2/3 of my fundraising goal for the Marine Corps Marathon and BOMF due to the generosity of some pretty amazing people. I'm hoping that by the time that race rolls around, I'll have logged many hundreds of more miles, and there will be a lot of BOMF members sporting some bright yellow shoes.

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