Monday, November 03, 2008

Annual 5K Teams with Soles4Souls

Gearing up for its 24th Great Pumpkin Run, Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Pensacola, FL is adding a new twist to its popular race. In conjunction with the 5K race and walk that raises thousands of dollars for the school each year, organizers are extending a helping hand to Soles4Souls by conducting a shoe drive.

"We thought that combining the pumpkin run and shoe drive is a perfect marriage," said Dyna Boland, a co-director for the race. "We will have a captive audience, so why not see if they can donate to this great cause."

Some of the students have already donated shoes and are asking participating runners and residents throughout the area to 'clean out their closets' and give their gently worn or new shoes to the cause. The goal is to collect about 300 pairs of footwear, which can be dropped off at the school on 1603 N. 12th Avenue or at Fitness 1 on 1, located at 4400 Bayou Blvd in Pensacola.

"Most runners tend to use their shoes for just a couple of months, and then they are just left sitting in their closets," said Sue Ehlers, a co-director of the event. "That's why we are asking for their running shoes, but we will also accept any shoes, as long as they are wearable, including flip-flops."

Billy Sadler, a Pensacola native and professional baseball player for the San Francisco Giants, stopped at the school recently during an assembly to encourage students to participate in the program.

Louis Gomez, a seventh grader who donated shoes, did not need a pep talk to get on board with the program. He knows a little something about being in need.

"I was a hurricane (Katrina) victim, we had to get a whole bunch of clothes from people," said 12-year-old Gomez, who moved to Pensacola with his family after the storm.

The Great Pumpkin Race begins at 8 am on Nov. 15th at Sacred Heart Cathedral School. Registration is $18 for adults and $12 for juniors (14 and younger). An award ceremony will follow with goodies, door prizes and pumpkin pastries baked by some runners and other organizers. For more information, call (850) 436-6440.

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