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Need some motivation to keep you running? Here’s how one
runner used the sport to create positive change. Anne Mahlum turned her regular
morning runs through urban Philadelphia into a non-profit organization to help
homeless people. Her idea was born during a run (aren’t most good ideas?) on
her regular route that passed by a local homeless shelter she noticed everyday.
The cool thing about this story: Mahlum actually followed up on her idea. She
phoned the shelter and organized the city’s first homeless running club. Since
that time her simple action has developed into Back on My Feet, a non-profit
operating in five different shelters. The program engages homeless people in
running teams to build confidence and illustrates how small steps
can lead to the accomplishment of big goals. Although Back on My Feet does not
provide food or shelter, it does provide a community of support. Team coaches
lead participants on required runs three times a week, and upon completion of the program, participants work with Back on My Feet staffers to secure job training, housing assistance and educational scholarships.
nominated Mahlum as one of their “Heros” in 2008. Please let us know if there’s
a hero in your community accomplishing amazing things through running. We’d
love to hear her story!
To learn about other ways to make a
positive impact through running, be sure to pick up the latest issue of Women’s
Running. Jen Murphy’s story “Run for a Good Cause” highlights
that offer ways to give back. Also, look for the next issue due out in mid-February—editor
Kristin Harrison writes about active volunteer vacations. –