Passing the Baton: how your run can raise money for those experiencing homelessness

Last week I activated my “Mizuno Baton” and this post is my attempt to “pass the baton” to all of you.

photo (2)Mizuno is donating $1 for every mile run with the Mizuno Baton app to Back on My Feet (BoMF), a nonprofit organization that helps those experiencing homelessness turn their lives around through running. Once you click activate you have 1 week to log your miles and help raise money. While I failed to do a 7 day run streak I did succeed in reaching my monetary goal of raising $30 (with 4 runs and quite a bit of walking). Overall, the Mizuno Baton community has raised $26, 404 and counting! My home state, Illinois, *ranks #5 in miles ran/money raised; while my college’s state, Iowa, ranks in at #43 (c’mon guys!). *rankings adjusted for population

For my non-runners you may see running as an exhausting chore: the sport of weirdos. I’m not gonna lie, I think all runners have some craziness to them and yes, there have been days where lacing up and heading out is the last thing I want to do. That’s the thing about running, like many things in life it takes dedication; there is no progress without commitment. But the beautiful thing about running is that it gives back. I run 8 miles and I’m revitalized: the invincible feeling I get on the road carries over into other areas of my life. And that’s exactly what Back on My Feet is going for:

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Members have an opportunity to redefine themselves not as homeless, but as hardworking and dedicated runners, friends and teammates. Our program helps Members change the way they see themselves by improving confidence and self-esteem, and helping them feel hopeful about their futures.

“After 30 days in the program, each Residential Member who maintains 90% attendance at the morning runs  [which happen M, W, F] move onto the Next Steps phase… [in which] Members meet with BoMF Program staff to assess their current situation and develop a road map for an independent lifestyle. Members have access to educational and job training opportunities, and through dedication to the program, can apply for financial aid to help them move toward employment and more permanent housing. Members can use Back on My Feet’s financial aid to address barriers to self-sufficiency including outstanding fines, tools for a job, transportation, education, certifications and security deposits” (via BoMF mission/progress statement).

On average, nearly 75 percent of Members are in the Next Steps phase of the program – a true testament to the efficacy and sustainability of the program.

All runners should take part in this fundraiser. You’re already putting in the miles, all you have to do is use the app. And for those of you already tracking miles with MapMyRun or Nike+, don’t worry! I was able to use MapMyRun, my music app (Rdio), and the baton simultaneously. The Baton did little to drain my battery. Note: one issue I ran into often was the Baton saying the “GPS signal is too weak to accurately track miles, would you like to continue”; when this comes up, just hit continue. Worst case scenario the baton says you ran a little farther than you actually did.

And for my nonrunners, run anyway! This is a really good cause and there’s no denying the benefits of running. Activating the baton will get you moving and help raise money for those experiencing homelessness; it’s a win win.

Just imagine if everybody ran!

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