Thank YOU for making a difference !
For those of you who don't know me, here's my running background. I hope this will answer 3 of your questions: why am I doing this? What are you supporting? And most importantly, how are you making a difference through this? Before I start, I would like to THANK YOU for kindly getting to know Back On My Feet through this page and giving me a chance to make a difference, to live a dream of running-for-a-cause !
I hated running. I wasn't good at running or pretty much anything sport-related. At least that's what I was told and proven by quite a few re-take exams for exercise courses growing up. Before April 2015, the idea of running outside/ off the treadmill was …well, a dreamer’s dream. I am indeed a dreamer who finds impossibility fascinating and always curious to know “what if”. This then brought me to April 20, 2015 the day I began my first training program with my coach Bill. Little did I know, this was the start of many changes in my life.
The first few weeks/months, it was hard, frustrating, and at the same time full of excitement. I could give you many reasons why it was ridiculously frustrating. The weather was too hot or too windy or too wet; it was just never perfect. I never felt ready for a run. Something was always wrong. Then my stubborn head got me frustrated for not feeling perfect. Yet I kept getting out moving one foot after another around the city of Philadelphia. What made me going? “What if” Every time I moved 1 step further, I got this spark of “Maybe”
The day I ran my first mile without stop, I had the biggest smile on my face while gasping for air (that’s how I pictured it but others might have seen someone with a half painful/ half funny facial expression). All the sudden, the air smelled so good. The first “maybe” now became “I did it!” and set the goal for the next “maybe”. Since that day, I’ve completed one half-marathon after another, and was dreamy enough to participate in Rocky 50K (Philadelphia’s fabulous ultra) and Turtle Trail 50 miler. Maybe I could race in a marathon, so I signed up for my first one coming in September 2016. Maybe I could run the world’s largest rural marathon for a cause that’s dear to my heart, so this page happened.
I didn’t make that first mile alone. Besides my coach, there were friends, inspiring runners, and many strangers who don’t even know me. Every supportive word, every smile, every wave, every inspiring story made a critical part of my little journey. Along the way, I’ve learned more about myself than ever before: how much further I could extend my endurance (and how grumpy I could be when hungry). I started to question my limit in everything else: “What if every day is full of sparks of “maybe”?”
Maybe I could be part of someone else’s running journey, and what if that journey changes their life? September 9, 2015 5:30 AM I went out for my first morning run with Back On My Feet HOPKirk (now West Philly team). Here I’ve met so many incredible inspiring members who strive every day despite the hardship that they currently experience. I also met the most dedicated kind supportive volunteers who always look way too happy at 5:30 AM in the morning. Together we run alongside one another to be not only physically but also mentally fit. Steps turned into miles, miles turned into friendship, friendship turned into family bond. It’s here where we share sweats, struggles, and above all, triumph.
May 1st, 2007: the idea of Back On My Feet was born by Anne Mahlum
July 3, 2007: 9 men experiencing homelessness took their first steps toward self-sufficiency on a run with Anne – the birthday of Back On My Feet (BOMF)
1468: the number of residents got housed through BOMF program to date
1549: the number of residents enrolled training and education through BOMF program to date
2137: the number of residents got employed through BOMF program to date
1721: the combination of 1 year, 7 months, and 21 days from my first morning run with BOMF until Big Sur – my first “maybe” goal
1800: the cost of putting one member through BOMF program – my spark “maybe” goal
3289: the number of days since Anne Mahlum sparked her idea until the day I created this page once again following my dreaner’s dream – a spark of “maybe”
Maybe we all can be in this together?