Posts Tagged ‘Back on My Feet Austin’

If you are an endurance athlete and like to push the limits on race day, there really aren’t too many places better than good old 512 – ATX.  Almost on a weekly basis you can strap ’em on, clip ’em in or pull down that cap down tight, slap on the goggles and do a little racin’.

We have two incredible 1 mile races each spring.  More 5K’s than you could seriously count, a couple of top notch 10K’s each year – The fifth largest 10K in the nation in April, a smokin’ fast 10K in the IBM Uptown Classic each October, 10 mile races, several half-marathons throughout the year and of course the Austin Marathon each February.

What Austin was missing was an urban, ultra-marathon.  An endurance event not on a trail, but featuring a road-course that tested athletes past the 26.2 mile distance.

Until now that is.

On May 11th and 12th at Camp Mabry – the first running of the Ace Cash Express Back on My Feet in24 Race Challenge will be held.

It is a 4 event race that features:

Lone Ranger Ultra-Marathon This race is for the true endurance athlete who wants to test their mental toughness and see how many miles they can run in 24 hours. The record from Philadelphia is 152.7 for males and 135.2 for females.

5-Person Relay Challenge Gather four friends and choose one of four categories ranging from 5 miles to 30 miles per teammate.

Sunset Run 7 p.m. on Saturday, you will run one 5-mile loop. Stick around after and enjoy music and cheer on the other runners.

Pajama Loop Run 7 a.m. Sunday, runners will jump out of bed to run the 5-mile loop in their favorite pair of pj’s…if you sleep in the nude, skivvies are strongly recommended.

Registration is now OPEN 

There is something for every type of athlete that weekend where more than 1,000 Austin athletes will be competing across the four events.

In addition to the races, the parade ground at Camp Mabry will be transformed into an Athletes village for the Ultra-Marathoners and their crew.  There will be music on the course, food vendors in place essentially a 24 hour party that will benefit Back on My Feet Austin – a national nonprofit organization that uses running to help those experiencing homelessness transform their own lives and achieve employment and independent living.

I’ve got something special for the first 10 people who register for one of the events here from the blog (Just comment on the post after you get your registration confirmation) – your very own Back on My Feet Austin Brooks Running Shirt. – Just let me know your size and if you would like a Men’s or Women’s Shirt in the comments.shirt

Run on people!  May 11th and 12th – Boom goes the dynamite.

Well, it was a long 5 weeks of rest and rehabilitation, but on Monday we were able to resume pain-free running.  Given the circumstances of our first run, I’m not sure it would have mattered very much as I could hardly feel my feet touch the ground participating in the Back on My Feet Austin launch run.

At 5:30 a.m. outside of Paul Carrozza’s RunTex shop on Riverside Drive a crowd assembled for a one-mile run.  For the 28 Residential Team Members, individuals experiencing homelessness, it would be the first mile on a road toward self-sufficiency, employment and housing.

Pre-Run Warm-Up - Photo By Richard McBlane Photography

Pre-Run Warm-Up – Photo By Richard McBlane Photography

For me, it was a mile back to health, full training and ultimately racing again.

The big story of course was everybody else.  I was just a runner among more than a hundred others.

Circle Up Austin - Photo By Richard McBlane Photography

Circle Up Austin – Photo By Richard McBlane Photography

That is the key piece about how the Back on My Feet Program works in breaking down barriers, stereotypes and the way we view a social issue like homelessness.  At the end of the day, we’re all just runners.  It is my hope that the Residential Team Members are able to find the same things I was able to find deep inside of me when I started running back in 2006, underneath 41 extra pounds of unnecessary weight.

I found strength, self-confidence, self-discipline and most importantly a skeleton key that could unlock so many things in the world around me.

Running was able to impact every aspect of my life.  It made me a better husband, a better son, a better brother, coworker and friend.

It has now made me a better Father and ultimately a better human-being.

Wednesday morning I ran with the group again.  I ran again with my new friend Max who I ran with on Monday.

First Mile - Photo By Richard McBlane Photography

First Mile – Photo By Richard McBlane Photography

Just two days after his first mile, he ran 2 alongside me and never broke stride.  His conversation skills started to struggle a bit on the uphill finish to the run, but I took care of that for him this morning.  Next time out, he will be even more prepared for that hill up Trinity and hopefully more prepared for all the other hills that rise up in front of him that require climbing – in and out of his running shoes.

If you are interested in learning more about Back on My Feet or running with the group in Austin – visit HERE:

It is only a one time a week commitment, and there are many other ways for you or your company to get involved as a sponsor, employment partner, through an initiative like Sneaker Week, or by participating in a Back on My Feet Race as an individual competitor, team or volunteer.

There are multiple points of involvement, and like most journeys in our sport – you just never really know where the road is going to take you.

All you can do is run ’em one mile at a time.

Congratulations Max.  Very proud of the work you put in this morning.  I hope you are too.

Run on people.

A Movement - Photo By Richard McBlane Photography

A Movement – Photo By Richard McBlane Photography

Monday morning at 5:30 a.m. a little over 150 people are going to assemble for a morning run in downtown Austin, TX.

30 of those runners will be running their first mile in a long, long time if ever.  The others will be helping them take their first strides toward self-confidence and self-sufficiency.   This run will be special for everyone as it is the first run of the Back on My Feet Austin Chapter.  The tenth such chapter in the Nation.

Back on My Feet is a national nonprofit organization that uses running to help those experiencing homelessness change the way they see themselves so they can make real change that results in employment and independent living.  http://www.backonmyfeet.org/

Back on My Feet was founded on July 3, 2007 in Philadelphia where a young professional women, Anne Mahlum had been running past the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission on her morning runs for months.  Each day she would see the men standing outside of the shelter and wonder why is it that I get to run by each day?  Why can’t they run with me?  Why can’t they get to experience the same things I do through the sport of running.

On one occasion as she sped by one of the men called out, “Do you just run all day?” and she replied, “Do you just stand there all day?” – and with that a short 10 second relationship began to build.

Anne called the Mission, and with a little persistence, received permission to start an official running club with nine guys living in the shelter. Anne got new running shoes donated and gave them running clothes and socks. She had one requirement, anyone who joined must sign what she called a “Dedication Contract,” committing to:

  • showing up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m.
  • being on time
  • respecting yourself
  • supporting teammates

Each runner, including Anne, signed and dated the document and the first one-mile run took place July 3.  In a week, the group grew to add 10 more people as volunteers.  The morning runs created a community that respected equality and promoted and rewarded positive behavior. Friendships were formed and smiles were constant.  Anne made two powerful observations that helped her to realize this growing community could be so much more than just a running club – this could be the core to changing people’s lives:

  1. The Members were coming out every day of their own volition. Anne believed (and still does!) that voluntary behavior is the only way change is possible. No one was forcing or threatening the individuals experiencing homelessness to be on that corner at 6 a.m. They were there because they wanted to be.
  2. While recording how far people ran after the morning runs, each Member waited anxiously to receive credit for their hard work. It was clear: no matter how many differences there are between us, the similarities are what connect us and make us human. We all want to be noticed, appreciated, recognized, valued, cared for and loved.  It is these emotions that drive us every day.

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.

Today, 46% of Residential Members in the Back on My Feet program move their lives forward with a job, independent housing or both.

This special organization launches on Monday morning – 5:30 a.m. outside of RunTex on Riverside Drive.

Very rarely in life do you know exactly when and where lives are going to be changed forever.  But in this case – we do.

I’ve run a lot of miles over the past 7 years, somewhere around 15,000 of them, but I can honestly say that I have very rarely looked forward to a run more than Monday’s.

Hope to see all you Austinites out there to support the mission!

Feet Austin Weird!  http://austin.backonmyfeet.org/