In July, Hubby will be running for 24 hours straight to raise money for the awesome organization Back on My Feet. That’s 24 hours of running. In a row. I think that deserves a guest post, don’t you?
When I was a kid growing up in Australia, we watched the Lone Ranger on Saturday morning TV. He was cool, he fought for good, he had an awesome name (way more awesome than Walker Texas Ranger. Sometime in the future Chuck Norris may be paying me a visit), and he rode a horse.
Riding a horse is something that may make a lot more sense when I too become a Lone Ranger as part of the Back on My Feet 24-hour Challenge in Philadelphia on July 20.
Back on My Feet was started in 2007 by Anne Mahlum, who as a young woman found strength in running as she dealt with her father’s gambling addiction. Years later, living in Philadelphia, every morning she would run past a group of homeless men staying at the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. Knowing how running had helped her, she contacted the executive director of the shelter and asked if she could invite the men along on her runs. The first group run took place on July 3, 2007.
From the Back on My Feet website:
The theoretical question that Anne asked herself was, “if we can change the way people see themselves, can we change the direction of their lives?” She felt very strongly that if we could help people experiencing homelessness see themselves as deserving, capable, hardworking, responsible, disciplined, focused and reliable, it would be possible for them to move toward independence. This question is no longer a theory—it is a reality.
There are now chapters in Maryland, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Indianapolis, Atlanta, New York City, and Austin.
The Back on My Feet program is designed to build personal responsibility. Resident members have to be 30 days sober and maintain a 90 per cent attendance record at three weekly runs. In return, they receive running gear. After six months of participation they get admission to other Back on My Feet partnership programs, which can assist with education and employment.
I read about Back on My Feet a few months back and was inspired to contribute to their fundraising by competing as a Lone Ranger in the 2013 Stroehman Back on My Feet 20IN24 challenge.
The object of the challenge is to run as many laps of the 8.4-mile course as possible in 24 hours. Yes, there are certainly easier ways to contribute, but how often do you get to run around the clock!
Before you start getting sympathy blisters, competitors don’t have to be on the course the entire time. Rest breaks are permitted and, given that it’s summer and I am the palest Aussie, probably wise. How far will I get in 24 hours? Well, I am no Cliff Young. (What, you don’t know who Cliff Young is? He was an Aussie who won the 544-mile Sydney to Melbourne ultra-marathon at the age of 61 in a then record-breaking time of five days, 15 hours. My goal is somewhere around 50 miles.)
Some of the other 310 Lone Rangers will do many, many, many, many more miles. There are events over the course of the 24 hours that I do really want to be on the course for. These include the Midnight Madness run, where another 525 runners do a lap in reflective gear (I am definitely cueing disco music on my RoadNoise vest for this) and a Pajama loop at 7 a.m. (just what you want to see after a night of little sleep—well-rested runners). After the race finishes at 10 a.m. on Sunday, I am sure it will not take me long to get into my pajamas. Monday will not be a work day for this Lone Ranger.
Since signing up for the challenge, I wanted to see Back on My Feet at work, so I have run several times at one of the Boston locations. The residents and the volunteers do an amazing job and the benefit to those participating is definitely apparent.
If after reading this you’d like to either a) support Back on My Feet or b) bet on how far I can run, please make a donation.