Baltimore Station’s Members of the Month: Daniel and Ben
Daniel B. joined BSTAT in November and has already accumulated 90 miles. He loves being part of the team and running in the rain. He notes that the biggest challenge he faces running is building up his endurance and stamina. Through the program, Daniel is working toward his overarching goal of being a responsible and positive person. His advice for a new runner is to “take your time, take it easy, and keep it moving forward.” His first race with Back on My Feet will be Nikia’s Nippy Nor’easter Half Marathon – his first half! His favorite post-race meal varies, but after Nikia, he’s looking forward to digging into steak and potatoes.
Says Daniel’s team leader, Sarah C.: “When Daniel isn’t in the morning circle, I instantly notice. He brings not just his exuberant greetings and his camouflage print pants to BSTAT, but a spirit and determination from which every person on the team draws energy. A great way to describe Daniel’s outlook comes from a few words he said to me recently on a particularly tough run. ‘Arghh I just hate hills!’ I complained. He replied wisely, “But keep going…they make you stronger.” Daniel quietly embraces every hill, mile, and race as a new challenge, and as he works to succeed, he inspires everyone around him.”
Ben F. joined BSTAT as a non-residential member in August, and his favorite moment so far was dressing up to run on Halloween morning. While running, Ben says, “Sometimes I think about song lyrics, sometimes I solve the problems of the day I am facing, sometimes I engage in prayer.” Ben’s last race was the Catonsville High School YMCA 5k on Thanksgiving, and he has a busy race schedule ahead of him: the D.C. Marathon in March, the Pittsburgh Marathon in May, the Wheeling WV Half Marathon on Memorial Day weekend, a 4th of July race, the Baltimore Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, and hopefully a couple triathlons. Whew! In the midst of that race schedule, Ben is excited to do a good job in his new role of Social Coordinator for BSTAT.
His favorite workout is running the BWI airport loop, and his advice for a new runner is: “You never know the places running will take you. You don’t have to be fast to enjoy it. Embrace your inner child and run!” And his running mantra is: “No matter how many miles you do, you are miles ahead of those that never get off the couch.”
Says Sarah C.: “Being a new member of a team is never easy, and when that team only meets in the dark, sleepy, pre-dawn hours, it makes it even harder to become familiar with new faces. Ben, who says he has trouble with names, does an incredible job of remembering and welcoming new people to the team. Whether it be by recalling someone’s college major, or pro football team preference, or first half marathon story, he makes up for the fact we only see each other in the dark, and pays attention to a thing far more important than someone’s face: he listens to each team member’s story. Ben is an enthusiastic, energetic force, day in and day out, and our team is lucky to have him!”
Christopher’s Place’s Members of the Month: Robert and Hillary
Robert and Hillary
Robert C. joined Team Christopher’s Place in November and has already accumulated more than 45 miles. His best moment so far was watching the 5 mile race. “Even though I couldn’t participate, getting to watch and be a cheerleader was great.” Robert is focused on his main goal for the next three months – finding employment. As he works toward that, he is enjoying what running brings to his life. He notes that his biggest running challenge is hills, but while running he tries to relax. “If I have a scripture, I think about that, otherwise I just focus on relaxing and breathing.” His advice for a new runner is, “Go for it!” Robert is working toward the Valentine’s Day 5k.
Robert’s team leader says, “Robert has been a wonderful addition to our team. His enthusiasm, spirit and kindness are infectious and he makes sure to support everyone. He has been recovering from an injury, but always shows up for his teammates even when he can’t run himself.”
Hillary G. joined CP as a non-residential member in November. She says her best moment was: “Before Snowlympics started with the D.C. teams, a group of us from Baltimore cheered on runners as they passed by us on the National Mall, complete with a tambourine and cow bell. It was completely spontaneous, but so much fun!” When asked what she thinks about while running, Hillary says, “Running is a time when I clear my head. If I am worried or anxious about anything, getting out with the team or on my own helps me put things into perspective.” Her advice for a brand new runner? “Just take it one mile at a time – that’s the only way.”
Hillary’s last race was the Frozen Finger 5-miler. She says, “I’m not quite sure what my time was, but it was my first non-road race, which kept things interesting for sure.” Her next race with Back on My Feet is the Valentine’s Day 5k. About Back on My Feet, Hillary says: “This experience has been incredibly life-giving. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, it’s just amazing to see what can happen when team members come together in such a unique way to support each other.”
Says her team leader: “Hillary has been an incredible addition to our team since she started. She is always smiling and takes the time to get to know everyone on our team. From the very beginning, she has shown up to all our events and helps out with driving.”
MCVET’s Members of the Month: Link and Shannon
Link and Bert (aka Joe Flacco)
Walter “Link” L. joined Team MCVET in December; he is off to a great start and is getting a lot out of being part of the team. Link says he used to train as a boxer: “It was very independent and I never considered myself very good with people so this camaraderie is a new experience for me and I am really enjoying it.”
Link’s goal for the next three months is to get stronger and start setting his sights on completing a marathon. When he runs, Link says he just “takes in the scenery and the companionship of the people I’m running with. I used to train with music all the time so it’s neat plugging into all the other sounds instead.”
Link’s next race and first race with the team is the Valentine’s Day 5k. Says Peter, Team MCVET team leader: “Link surprised all of us when after completing his first mile with the team, he jumped in with the pack that was going out to get in a few extra miles. We learned later that day, that as a former boxer, Link never backs down from a challenge. He also never ceases to make runs that much more enjoyable, sharing his good humored spirit and outlook with his teammates as they pound the pavement together. Since his first day, he’s been racking up plenty of miles and recently set his sights on a 26.2 round heavyweight bout with the best hills our city can throw at him at next fall’s Baltimore Running Festival. We’re looking forward to getting to run alongside him as he prepares for this race and any other challenges that come up along the way.”
Shannon W. joined Team MCVET as a non-residential member in March 2011. She jokes about her size 11 feet, “Feel free to call me “Big Foot” from now on – or as my high school swim team members dubbed me, “Flipper.”
Shannon says her best moment with Back on My Feet to date was completing her first race ever at the MCVET 10k in May with other first time resident racers and then setting a goal to complete her first half marathon this October. “I never would have done either without the encouragement of our wonderful team. When running the half marathon, I heard Greg’s voice telling me to keep my head down and pass people on the hills. It worked!”
Next up for Shannon: volunteering at the Nikia Half Marathon. Her goal for the next three months is to stay well and hopefully get back to running.
Says Peter, team leader: “For months, John told us about how he hoped to lure his wife out to join us one morning for a run, and we are so grateful that he succeeded! Since coming out for her first morning with the team, Shannon has become one of our most dedicated and supportive non-residential members. For almost a year now, it’s been a real pleasure for every one of our members to get to know her and spend the mornings with Shannon. She always has the best interest of the team and its members in mind and is eager to lend a hand to whoever needs it. She’s been known to push the pace at the front of the pack some mornings, but also to walk and listen with anyone as well. She welcomes our newest residential and non-residential members alike and has even graced us with her delicious baked (healthy!) treats for members’ birthdays. We can’t say enough about how much we appreciate having Shannon as part of Team MCVET!”
Team Helping Up Mission’s Members of the Month: Bryant and Rachel
Bryant J. joined Back on My Feet as a residential member in September, and though he says his biggest challenge is waking up early and getting out there to get started, he has already run more than 100 miles! His best moment so far was participating in the Baltimore Running Festival, and his goal for the next three months is to complete his first half marathon. His next race is the Valentine’s Day 5k.
When asked what he thinks about while running, Bryant says, “There are a of things that go through my mind, but mostly I think about getting things back on track in my life and doing well.”
Says Rob Carfagno, team leader: “Bryant has such a great attitude and has done a lot to jump in and make new friends on the team. He’s always smiling and goes out of his way to come up to me and say hello each morning when he reaches the circle. He’s increased his mileage recently and is working toward his first half marathon. He’s enthusiastic about his running and it seems like everything he has going on…he’s definitely great to be around. I’m excited to see all of the great things Bryant will accomplish in the coming months, both in running and in life!”
Rachel and Honey Dip
Rachel S. joined Team THUMB as a non-residential member in July 2011. Her best moment so far? “Running AND finishing the 2011 Baltimore Half Marathon with Steve, Bonnie, Julie and Erica, also known as Steven’s Crew. We ran the whole race together and really stuck by each other. I remember I was struggling at the beginning, but then there was Steven, running backwards with encouraging words getting me up the hills. We ran into the finish line holding hands. I was so proud of my teammate, it’s quite an accomplishment to complete a half marathon and we did it.” Now, Rachel is gearing up for the Nikia Half Marathon at the end of March.
Rachel often brings her sweet dog, Honey Dip, to the morning runs, much to the delight of her teammates. Rachel says, “Some of the things I think about when running are: Why won’t Honey Dip (HD) slow down? 2. Please please please don’t come across a chicken bone, HD will eat anything not nailed down (and some stuff that is nailed down), chicken bones are not good for dogs. 3. If I wasn’t running with Back on My Feet, I’d definitely have stopped to walk by now. 4. How many blocks until the end of the run? Some of the things I assume Honey Dip is thinking about when running are: 1. Hope we run by chicken bones. 2. Mom, can you run faster? 3. Can’t wait to finish so I can see my friends, they love me and pet me. 4. WOOF!
Says team leader, Rob Carfagno: “Our team is lucky to have Rachel (and Honey Dip!) as our teammate! Rachel is always so enthusiastic and you will often hear her say how important Back on My Feet is to her. She really loves to be part of the team and she goes out of her way to make those around her feel comfortable. Rachel and Honey Dip bring smiles to lots of our teammates early in the morning. Rachel helps to make a real difference to those around her and it is clear just how much the team means to her!”