Out On The Trail
Back On My Feet
By Anne Barnwell
"I see myself working full time, having an apartment, a nice place of my own, a lot of my debt paid off, and hopefully I'll be training for my marathon. That's where I see myself in a year."
How can a homeless man think about running a marathon?
A short 3 ½ minute video from Back on My Feet introduces us to Remmy, a man whose current living situation is not stopping him from reaching his running goals. From Brooklyn, Remmy joined the Army after 9/11 and served for 10 years. He moved to Dallas for a job opportunity that didn't pan out and problems with finances left him without a place to stay. That is how he ended up in a shelter. Remmy talks to us from his room. Small but neat. Two single beds, a small sink, a few clothes, and an oscillating fan. He hangs a small American flag by wedging the stick behind a cupboard. (Watch video here.)
Remmy is back on track, thanks to the nonprofit, Back on My Feet (BOMF). The mission of BOMF reads: Back on My Feet, a national organization operating in 11 major cities coast to coast, combats homelessness through the power of running, community support and essential employment and housing resources.
BOMF believes that running restores confidence, strength and self-esteem to individuals, making them better equipped to tackle the challenge of getting a job, home, and their life back on track. Most runners would agree. It takes physical and emotional strength to start running and stick to it.
Running is just the first step. The nonprofit recruits members at homeless and residential facilities and the program begins with a member's commitment to run three days a week in the early morning. After 30 days in the program, members with 90% attendance earn the opportunity to move into the second phase of the program called Next Steps, which provides education, employment and housing opportunities. Read more about their programs.
Remmy is just one of thousands in the United States who have made great strides through their program. Since the Dallas chapter's inception in 2011, 756 members have been served and 279 of those members are now employed. The Dallas chapter is one of 11 chapters nationwide, soon to be 12 with the launch of San Francisco in November 2017. Collectively, Back on My Feet has helped more than 4,000 individuals find employment and housing.
The BOMF Dallas chapter has four employees and enrolls approximately 65 people in the program at any one time. The smaller groups-approximately 15 per shelter-allows for more individual attention. In case you're wondering, there are more than 3,000 homeless people in the Dallas area.
How you can Help
On October 1 is the Back on My Feet Rugged & Raw 10K/20K at Cedar Ridge Preserve, raising funds for the nonprofit. The race is a great opportunity to learn more about the organization and support a great cause. Learn more and register.
If you can't make it to the run, you can still help.
Consider volunteering by running with a group in the program. Learn more here.
Or donate to support their programs.
Rough Creek Trail Run
The Rough Creek Trail Run was held on Saturday, September 17 in Glen Rose, Texas. Rough Creek is a loop course with races in four distances: 40-mile (3 loops); Marathon (2 loops); Half Marathon (1 loop); 10K (modified loop). According to the website, "the main loop will contain a large amount of non-technical, scenic trail that will allow you to look around and enjoy the beauty of Texas Hill Country." However, they also warn runners that this part of the trail is open to the sun and that temperatures will most likely be hot. True to its nature, the state of Texas delivered a hot day that peaked in the 90's for runners.
The tough part of the race is called the rusty crown-a rugged, steep, and technical portion of the course. The rusty crown makes up approximately 3 miles of the 13-mile loop. When participates brag, or complain, about Rough Creek, they are usually referring to the crown.
Rough Creek Trail Run was previously directed by David Hanenburg and Endurance Buzz Adventures. This is the first year directed by Libby Jones and The Active Joe.
40-mile Run-of the 24 starters, only 11 finished, a finishing rate of 45%.
Top male finisher: Jose "Pepe Runner" Lazalde
Top female finisher: Rebecca Gartrell
Top male finisher: Angel Jabega, Dallas, TX
Top female finisher: Amy Clark, Fort Worth, TX
Top male finisher: John Winstead, Trophy Club, TX
Top female finisher: Samantha Friedel, Irving, TX
Top male finisher: Tejesh Guddanti, Richardson, TX
Top female finisher: Amy Wolf, Abilene, TX
Complete race results can be found here.