Join us in congratulating our Baltimore Members of the Month!
Baltimore Station Member of the Month: John
John B. joined Back on My Feet as a non-residential member in October 2009, and notes that “Winning Wipeout” is his favorite memory so far!
Says Baltimore Station team leader, “Fast” Dan Miranda: “John has been quite a consistent Wednesday runner with Baltimore Station for a while. I was completely overjoyed when he came to Wipeout 2011. I knew without a doubt our team would win the tug of war. This guy was the perfect person to be our anchor! Whenever our ‘lightweight’ members (myself included) don’t need to be on the tug of war line, it is a good thing. He certainly played a big role (yes, pun intended) in our victory! But, besides pulling a rope with some suckers on the other end, he is also a great presence on the morning runs. He is willing to run with just about anyone, and is certainly not shy about pushing the pace a bit and getting people to run just a bit faster. He is talkative and his upbeat attitude goes a long way to getting our group going on those dark mornings!”
But while John definitely enjoys chatting it up with his teammates in the morning, he also uses his long run time to remember people he has lost. Says John: “It’s actually the main reason that I run with Back on My Feet. I volunteer in the memory of a good friend. Running gives me time to reflect.”
John recommends that brand new runners “find a time a day that you enjoy being outside. For me, it was always sunset, and the skyline. Experiencing that is when I first really started to enjoy running.”
John’s last race with Back on My Feet was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2009. He is planning to participate in the Ragnar Relay Run from Miami to Key West in January. He is focused on balancing his need for speed (“I’d like to get my mile pace for distance work under 7:30 minutes/mile) with the challenge of pacing himself (“I usually start off way too fast!”)
Christopher’s Place Members of the Month: Steven and Diane
Steven F. joined Back on My Feet as a residential member on July 27th and already has a lot of miles under his belt. But, the first one was special. Steven says that “finishing my first mile” has been his best moment since joining Back on my Feet. He enjoys chatting with his friends on runs and notes that the biggest challenge he faces is “trying to keep breathing steady enough to talk.” Steven is aiming to run a half marathon within the next few months, and will run in the Marathon Relay at the Baltimore Running Festival on October 15. What advice would Steven give a brand new runner? “Stick with it!”
Diane A. joined Back on My Feet as a non-residential member in October 2009 and has a hard time picking her best moment. “There are so many! Being there when a team member finishes their first race, first year birthday run, the launch of the American Rescue Workers (ARF) chapter, the 2010 Baltimore Running Festival, the graduations, and of course, the hugs in the morning.”
Diane also notes one very special memory – when a member of her team gave her his 5-mile medal because he said she helped him get there. She cannot say enough about the impact the program has had on her life: “It is the most inspiring, emotional, rewarding experience I have ever had. I have met and become friends with the most amazing people! I consider them my family.”
For new runners, Diane suggests, “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Progress takes time. Have patience.”
Diane’s last race was the Run to Remember on September 11th, which she says was “a great race with some of my favorite people.” Next up for Diane: the Baltimore Running Festival half marathon on Oct. 15.
MCVET’s Members of the Month: Ja-Aura and Lauren
Ja-Aura H. joined MCVET as a residential member on July 3 and has loved every minute: “I love the nature of my open-hearted teammates. They hug often, and they hug like they mean it! I need those hugs, and I really learn from my team members’ giving nature. I follow that example.”
Ja-Aura is focused on college assessments and is looking forward to starting to take classes. “I am working on defeating my fear, to recognize that I am just as capable as others.”
Running has helped Ja-Aura with that confidence, though he jokes that his biggest challenge is pacing himself to slow down because, as he says, “I am not as young as I would like to think I am!” But, of course, running helps keep us all young at heart, and Ja-Aura says, “When I’m running, I think about how I have always loved it. My teammates show up every week and everyone is so positive. That is an inspiration.”
Ja-Aura is gearing up for the Baltimore Running Festival half marathon on October 15th. Wish him luck!
Lauren L. joined Back on My Feet as a non-residential member in May 2009. Her best moment to date? “Finishing the 2009 Baltimore Marathon. I think there’s something special about firsts, and sharing it with my mom, Arnold (my running Dad), and so many friends and fellow runners was great.”
Lauren is getting ready for the Baltimore Running Festival 5k, after which she will have run all the events of the BRF! She is also hoping to set a new PR at the Richmond Marathon in November.
What does Lauren think about while running? Breakfast, of course! She likes to enjoy mixed strawberries, a chopped apple, a sliced banana, shredded coconut and nuts. Yum!
Team Helping Up Mission’s Members of the Month: Tim and Mary
Tim B. joined Team Helping Up Mission in July, and says, “there are too many great memories to choose just one. It is a joy to be there every day with the team.”
Tim says that his biggest challenge in running is “finding the right pace and breathing.” And, keeping a steady pace is at the forefront in his life outside running, as well. His goals for the next three months include building upon success in his new job, managing his finances, making some big decisions, and of course, continuing to run.
Tim appreciates the camaraderie he has found at Back on my Feet, noting that while he runs, “I focus on the conversations I have with my running partners.” He is gearing up for the Baltimore Running Festival half marathon.
“Tim has worked very hard to improve his running since joining the team just a few months ago,” says Rob Carfango, team leader, Helping Up Mission. “He came in with a good foundation of running and has quickly increased his mileage as he trains for the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon. He really enjoys his time with the team and you can find him running with many of our teammates no matter the pace. Tim’s always smiling and looking for ways to make improvements in his running and life. He recently got a great new job and wants to do all that he can with the opportunities he has found. I know Tim will find a way to be successful in everything he wishes to achieve!”
Mary T. joined Team Helping Up Mission as a non-residential member in March 2011. Her favorite memory so far is “the Friday that all the teams ran through the inner harbor with Croix Sather who was on his ‘Dream Big Act Big’ run across the country. Seeing all of the teammates call out ‘Back on My Feet’ and words of encouragement as they passed on their different runs with the sun rising over the water was very inspiring. And then we ended with one of David Dutrow’s famous birthday cheesecakes – a great way to start the day.”
Getting to know the city has been a big benefit in her time with Back on My Feet. Mary says, “Usually, I’m getting to know whomever I’m running with and also taking in the different Baltimore neighborhoods; it’s amazing how much more you see when you are not in a car.”
Mary is getting ready for her first half marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival. “I definitely could not do it without the support of my awesome teammates.”
Says team leader, Rob Carfango: “Mary is a great teammate. She has made a big impact in a short time and continues to do more. She has been great in supporting the guys who are training for upcoming races at the Baltimore Running Festival while she is also training for the half. Several of these runs have started as early as 5 a.m. to accommodate her teammates’ pace and she is always out there with a smile. I have a feeling that as time goes on, Mary will continue to do more to help the team in any way she can.”