Posts Tagged Team Running Home

Every year, a diverse group of runners from across the country join together to form the esteemed Back on My Feet Boston Marathon Team, Team Running Home. This April 15, team members will descend upon Boston from as far away as Georgia to run one of the world’s premier marathons while raising money and awareness for the Boston chapter.

As of today, the team has raised over $44,002 towards their collective goal of $81,000. We’ll be highlighting runners from Team Running Home until April 15 so everyone can get to know this phenomenal team a little bit and cheer them on from near and far. I asked each runner to answer three short questions about themselves, and I’ll share those with you here. You can help support the 2013 Team Running Home here.

This week’s featured runner is … me. Bridget Horne. This is my fifth marathon, but my very first Boston and I could not be more excited. Here’s a quick intro to who I am and why I’m running the 2013 Boston Marathon for Back on My Feet.

I’ve been a part of Back on My Feet since July 2009. I first joined the organization as a Non Res member in my hometown of Philadelphia. Less than a year later, I found myself moving to Boston around the same time that BoMF was launching the Boston chapter. I was soon hired as the Director of Communications and Corporate Relations, and have dedicated not only my volunteer hours, but my career to Back on My Feet ever since.

2012 was a particularly tough year for me with a few serious health scares (two major stomach surgeries within 11 months) and some personal issues that turned my life upside down. Throughout it all, BoMF and my running helped me keep my head up and stay sane (usually).Today, I’m proud to say that I’m cancer survivor with an officially clean bill of health who is running the 2013 Boston Marathon — I never dreamed that would happen six months ago! Back on My Feet has changed the course of my life and I am proud to be a member of this year’s Team Running Home. When I’m not “BoMFing” you can usually find me on the beach (come on, summer), curled up with a good book, or spending some time with my good friends.

Q1: If you had to sum yourself up in 140 characters or less, what would you say?
A1: Loving of running, words, and late night dance parties.

Q2: What does running mean to you?
A2: Running has literally been a life saver for me. During the days I was too sick to get out of bed, I longed to feel the pavement beneath my feet (I keep reminding myself of that when I’m out there cursing winter on a 20-mile training run). While I’ve been going through personal issues, it’s helped me make sense of my life and gave me concrete, attainable goals during a time when I felt like I was spinning out of control – like running the Boston Marathon. It keeps me fit; it keeps me happy; and perhaps most importantly, it allows me to eat all the pizza and donuts I want without feeling guilty.

Q3: Why Back on My Feet?
A3: I’ve been a part of Back on My Feet for almost four years and can honestly say it has changed my life. It’s brought some of the most amazing people into my life and formed lasting friendships. It’s showed me that there are second chances and that everyone is deserving of them. It’s taught me as much about myself as it has about the issues and challenges of homelessness and addiction. I will forever be thankful for what Back on My Feet has been for me.

I’ve currently raised 45% of my fundraising goal of $5,400. Help me get to the finish line!

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Knocking out some snowy miles with my favorite trail running partner, Roo!

Every year, a diverse group of runners from across the country join together to form the esteemed Back on My Feet Boston Marathon Team, Team Running Home. This April 15, team members will descend upon Boston from as far away as Georgia to run one of the world’s premier marathons while raising money and awareness for the Boston chapter.

As of today, the team has raised over $34,000 towards their collective goal of $81,000. We’ll be highlighting runners from Team Running Home until April 15 so everyone can get to know this phenomenal team a little bit and cheer them on from near and far. I asked each runner to answer three short questions about themselves, and I’ll share those with you here. You can help support the 2013 Team Running Home here.

This week’s featured runner is Brian Cotter.  Brian hails to us from the Back on My Feet D.C. chapter. We are always thrilled to welcome fellow Back on My Feet family members from across the country to our Boston team and are honored that Brian chose the Boston Marathon to make his miles count for more than just distance.

Q1: If you had to sum yourself up in 140 characters or less, what would you say?
A2: Native New Jersey-an who pumps his fists, not his gas. Joined BoMF La Casa (D.C.) in January 2011 and have been a part of the org. ever since.

Q2: What does running mean to you?
A2: Running gives me a great opportunity to socialize with new people in a new city while staying fit. There is nothing like going out for a long Saturday run with a great group of people who take your mind off the next 20 miles!

Q3: Why Back on My Feet?
A3: I heard about BoMF when Ann Mahlum was nominated as a CNN Hero (video here) for starting this organization. I thought it would be a great way to get out there and help people vice the traditional way of just running 5k, 10k etc. that donated to a number of different causes.

Brian has currently raised $2,640 out of his goal of $5,000. Let’s help get him across the finish line! You can support Brian’s Boston Marathon campaign here.

Go, Brian, go!

Go, Brian, go!

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Every year, a diverse group of runners from across the country join together to form the esteemed Back on My Feet Boston Marathon Team, Team Running Home. This April 15, team members will descend upon Boston from as far away as Georgia to run one of the world’s premier marathons while raising money and awareness for the Boston chapter.

As of today, the team has raised almost $25,000 towards their collective goal of $81,000. We’ll be highlighting runners from Team Running Home until April 15 so everyone can get to know this phenomenal team a little bit and cheer them on from near and far. I asked each runner to answer three short questions about themselves, and I’ll share those with you here. You can help support the 2013 Team Running Home here.

This week’s Featured FundRacer is Erika Mark. Erika is sisters with Team Running Home member Heidi Wheatley. Awesome must run in the family, because Erika is the epitome of the word. She has been a member of BoMF Boston’s Team Hope House since the chapter’s inception in May 2010 and has been one of the team’s most diligent Non Res members since the get go.

Erika helped shape the face of Hope House through the team’s ups and downs and always brings her smile and contagious laugh to the morning circle. This is her first year running the Boston Marathon and we’re honored she chose to make her miles count for Back on My Feet.

Meet Erika.

Q1:  If you had to sum yourself up in 140 characters or less, what would you say?

A1: Enthusiastic BOMFer; coffee-aholic & am coming to appreciate running in the city.

 

Q2: What does running mean to you?

A2: Running can be a friend or a foe (depending on the day!).  It may take all my will-power to get out the door, and even if its only for a quick 3 miler, by the time I’m done, I feel like a million bucks just for having done it – ESPECIALLY with the winter we’ve had!  Its easy to run on a “perfect weather day” –  its the days when its gusting wind, blowing snow and 10 degrees out that I feel like a REAL runner!

 

Q3: Why Back on My Feet?

A3: I first heard about BoMF when I read about it in Runners World.  It was just launching in Baltimore when I moved to Boston.  In Baltimore, there is a large homeless population and I was intrigued by Anne’s idea to sew the seeds of running into such a diversely challenging population (mental health, addictions, etc).  When BoMF launched in Boston I jumped at the chance to become a part of the Hope House team.  And despite the heartache sometimes associated with the attachments that are inevitably made with our guys (seeing them through many successes and sometimes failures), I have nothing but respect for the BoMF mission and believe that we are doing our best every day to make a difference in our community.  Running the Boston Marathon for the first time and fundraising for such a unique and important organization was a no-brainer.  GO BoMF!

Help Erika get to her fundraising goal of $5,400. Team Running Home can’t do it without your support!

Erika earning her finisher's medal with Steve and Joey, two Hope House teammates

Erika earning her hardware with Steve and Joey, two Hope House teammates

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Every year, a diverse array of runners from across the country join together to form the esteemed Back on My Feet Boston Marathon Team, Team Running Home. This April 15, team members will descend upon Boston from as far away as Georgia to run one of the world’s premier marathons while raising money and awareness for the Boston chapter.

As of today, the team has raised more than $14,000 towards their collective goal of $81,000. We’ll be highlighting runners from Team Running Home each week so everyone can get to know this phenomenal team a little bit and cheer them on from near and far. I asked each runner to answer three short questions about themselves, and I’ll share those with you here. You can help support the 2013 Team Running Home here.

This week’s Featured FundRacer is Heidi Wheatley. Heidi was the first official member of Team Running Home for the 2013 season and her enthusiasm was the perfect way to kick off the 2013 Boston Marathon at Back on My Feet.

Heidi takes this year’s prize of Farthest Teammate, hailing from her home in Acworth, GA. She’s been a member of the Atlanta chapter of Back on My Feet since the chapter’s inception and is lucky enough to be sisters of one of our most dedicated Boston Non Residential Members and Team Running Home Members, Erika Mark. Awesomeness must run in this family.

Meet Heidi.

Q1: If you had to sum yourself up in 140 characters or less, what would you say?
A1: Can’t get enough of running, my family or watching Law and Order reruns.

Q2: What does running mean to you?
A2: Running is my sanity. It has helped me get through challenging times and encourages me to push myself.

Q3: Why Back on My Feet?
A3: Running has been so good to me … I love sharing it with others. I believe that the way to change a life is to be supportive and provide the tools needed for them to do so. BoMF stresses self-sufficiency and not dependence … right up my alley. I am constantly inspired by our res members and think that they give me way more than I give them.

Support Heidi by donating to her campaign today!

Heidi with her son Colton and dog Abby: "I am in love with running but Colton is my heart -- I don't know who I am without either. :-)"

Heidi with her son Colton and dog Abby: “I am in love with running but Colton is my heart — I don’t know who I am without either. :-)”

Back on My Feet Boston was given the opportunity to provide entries into the 2012 Boston Marathon to a few (very) lucky BoMF Res Members thanks to our partnership with the John Hancock Boston Marathon Charity Bib Program. Over the next six weeks leading up to the Boston Marathon, we’ll be highlighting some of the runners on this year’s Back on My Feet Boston Marathon team, including the five Residential Members who will be lacing up on April 16: Austin Baker, Brian Doucette, Wahid Chaudhary, Jared Gately, and Chris Hatton.

Chris has been featured a number of times on the Back on My Feet blog. This is Chris’s story.

“The more time you spend trying to help somebody else, the more energy you have.”

This idea is at the core of Chris’s thoughts and activities for today and tomorrow. Through running and yoga Chris has found a sense of community and support, friends and family that he knows he can count on when times are rough. “Once I started running with the group, I felt a sense of family, a sense of belonging, a purpose greater than myself, a sense of support – a family that has really helped me get through a lot of things.”

Like most runners Chris has also found in running a deeper sense of personal accomplishment and peace that so many are looking for. However, Chris’s life did not start off this way and it is the path that Chris has taken to get to where he is today and his goals for the future that make Chris such a remarkable man. (Watch an interview with CSN)

Chris moved around a great deal when he was growing up. From an early age, he had a sense of rebellion and defiance, which later caused him a great deal of hurt and pushed him to seek an escape from this pain. Turning to drugs and crime as an outlet only brought more difficulty and pain to Chris’s life. A brief stay in juvenile detention and rehab didn’t help Chris very much he wasn’t ready to change what he needed to in his life. Chris fell back onto the wrong path after rehab and ended up spending the next 14 years of his life in jail.

In many respects, Chris’s life in jail was not very different from his life on the outside. There was still a great deal of hurt and suffering that he couldn’t escape. The first five years in jail were very difficult, being shipped between several different facilities, and it wasn’t until Chris made it to Memphis, Tenn. that he found what he had been looking for.

His roommate there got him started on exercising and running. He fell in love with running, handball, and lifting. With a new focus on his physical health Chris was also able to start working on his mental health by practicing meditation and for the first time in a long time he began to feel good about who he was as a person.

As with all runners, Chris’s new found passion became a chance to improve upon his self discipline and goal setting. Chris set his sights on running a marathon on his 26th birthday. On a rainy day in early October Chris went out into the prison yard at 6 a.m. to set up his water and food to prepare for the day’s run.

There weren’t many other people out there watching, but Chris wasn’t running for others, he was running a marathon to prove to himself that with a lot of hard work he could accomplish whatever he set his mind to. Running became a spiritual thing to Chris, a way for him to really go inside and see who he is.

Running broke down the barriers he had around himself, brought him to a point of realization of the interconnectedness of all things and helped him find freedom and peace within his life. And he completed that first marathon — all within the walls of prison.

After his birthday marathon, Chris began helping out a friend who was teaching a yoga class, and like running, immediately fell in love with it. Yoga was an excellent compliment to his running, both in terms of the physical and mental strength that it helped him develop.

After his friend was transferred to another facility Chris assumed the role of teacher for the class, learning everything he could through books and videos. Chris started letter writing campaigns to get teachers to come in from outside the prison to teach his students, but none were ever able to come.

These efforts have certainly shaped Chris’s future plans to develop a yoga program to take back into prison to help those still incarcerated. Currently Chris is teaching yoga classes at No Excuse Workout in Washington, DC. He is working towards his yoga instruction certification in order to be able to help those who still need it. “Yoga helped to transform me while I was there, and if the gap could be bridged between the inside and the outside you can provide a constructive way of rehabilitation, and yoga can be that bridge.”  He wants the men and women still on the inside to know that someone still cares about them.

Last year, Chris was the first Back on My Feet DC member to run a marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon, almost one year to the day that he was released from prison.

“I have this goal in front of me, I don’t have a lot of time to think about going out to get high, if I’m depressed or down, I have this goal, let me go out for a run, or for a walk, and let this help me clear my head.”

Since his first “official” marathon, Chris has gotten a lot of attention in the DC area which we covered here and here on the Back on My Feet blog.

Since tucking the Marine Corps Marathon under his belt, Chris officially turned his ambitions to the north: the legendary Boston Marathon. It had been on his radar for 10 years or so, and this year Chris’s MCM time qualified him for the Boston Marathon, but he was not able to register in time before the race sold out. Lucky for him though, we had one ready for him. Check out this video when Chris learns he’ll be running in the 2012 Boston Marathon.

You can read more about the members of Team Running Home and support them as they tackle the infamous Boston Marathon course in just a few weeks. For more ways to help Team Running Home cross the finish line of the 2012 Boston Marathon, contact Vic Acosta at vic@backonmyfeet.org.

Back on My Feet Boston was given the opportunity to provide entries into the 2012 Boston Marathon to a few (very) lucky BoMF Res Members thanks to our partnership with the John Hancock Boston Marathon Charity Bib Program. Over the next six weeks leading up to the Boston Marathon, we’ll be highlighting some of the runners on this year’s Back on My Feet Boston Marathon team, including the five Residential Members who will be lacing up on April 16: Austin Baker, Brian Doucette, Wahid Chaudhary, Jared Gately, and Chris Hatton. This is Jared’s story.

When Jared Gately first found himself on the steps of the addiction treatment program on Farnham Street, he wasn’t sure what to expect. It was March of 2011 and the 24 year old had just been kicked out of his parents’ house for his addiction and turned to Hope House for a chance to turn his life around before it was too late. Jared was nervous about what might lay ahead.

What he didn’t expect was the many, many, many miles that lay before him in addition to the counseling and drug treatment options offered at Hope House. Because not long after entering Hope House, Jared found himself standing outside of Hope House’s doors in a circle of people dressed in spandex tights and running shoes, blowing into their hands and hopping from foot to foot to keep them warm at 5:45 on a dark and chilly Monday morning last March.

Jared, a life-long boxer, had always been in shape. So when he noticed other residents at Hope House coming in from their morning runs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at about the time the rest of the house was rising for breakfast, he decided to give Back on My Feet a try. It could be good for him, he figured. And Jared was looking for anything that could be good for him.

It wasn’t long before Jared latched on to running. Every month he participated in races with his BoMF teammates and last August he found himself toeing the line at the legendary Falmouth Road Race. From then on, Jared really had the road race bug. Running with Back on My Feet felt good mentally and physically and gave Jared new goals to reach for, which crossed over onto his life out of running shoes.

Soon his life took off as fast as his running. He moved out of Hope House and now lives in Southie, working full time as a masonry worker. When Back on My Feet gave him the opportunity to join the BoMF Boston Marathon team as an alumni member, he jumped at the chance.

Jared’s goal is to prove to himself and to everyone that he can complete the marathon. He has been training with other members of the Hope House BoMF team, and feels closer every week to making that dream come true.

Read about the other members of Team Running Home. A  new member will be featured each week!

Back on My Feet Boston was given the opportunity to provide entries into the 2012 Boston Marathon to a few (very) lucky BoMF Res Members thanks to our partnership with the John Hancock Boston Marathon Charity Bib Program. Over the next six weeks leading up to the Boston Marathon, we’ll be highlighting some of the runners on this year’s Back on My Feet Boston Marathon team, including the five Residential Members who will be lacing up on April 16: Austin Baker, Brian Doucette, Wahid Chaudhary, Jared Gately, and Chris Hatton. This is Austin’s story.

Austin Baker’s story, while filled with heartbreak, is sadly not unique to many men in Boston. A father of two, he had been living around the corner from his children in order to help care for his autistic son. Born prematurely and slowly nursed to health, Baker’s son meant the world to him. That’s when everything was swept away in a single swoop, Baker says.

Baker had been searching for a work after being laid off from his job as an operating room nurse’s assistant. While out of work, he had been staying at his ex-girlfriend’s parents’ house, where he helped the aging couple keep up the property and paid for the utilities in return for their kindness. After two years however, his children’s grandmother suffered a stroke, permanently paralyzing her right side. When they moved her to a nursing home, family members take over and demanded that Baker vacate the house. Without any legal say for the house, he had no choice.

Without anywhere else to go, Baker entered Father Bill’s Place in Quincy the next morning. He states that first night without his son was one of the loneliest of his life. “Here you are with nowhere to go at a place where you don’t know anyone and you’ve got to try to put your life back together.” Baker says of his first few days in the shelter. “I said I need to do something about this. The morning after my first night there, I got on my bike and rode to the beach and I stood up there on the rocks at Wollaston and I said I will get myself back on my feet, no matter what.”

From then on, Baker pledged that each step he would take would be a positive one.  That’s when he joined Back on My Feet. During that first morning run in the summer or 2011, he made it abundantly clear that he was serious about running. And he wasn’t kidding. In simmering summer heat, Baker would take off on team runs and lead the pack by barreling toward Wollaston Beach at a torrid pace that was hard match. With an athletic build more suited for a linebacker, he took that same competitive drive and desire and put it to good use at a number of local road races.

As his running progressed, Baker became hooked on the idea of running the Boston Marathon. Fully aware of the competitiveness and near impossibility of getting a number for someone in Baker’s shoes, his teammates encouraged his marathon dreams by highlighting other marathons in area, but Baker wouldn’t budge. Months later, when he found out that he would, in fact, be representing Back on My Feet on the Boston Marathon course, the 54 year old was nearly speechless. “This is one of the best days of my life,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s hard to not feel like things will never go right for you,” Baker says. “Running turns that around.  Running makes you think about yourself and the changes you need to make. You feel good. No one can take that away from you.”

Currently working as a landscaper, Baker is still searching for full-time, non-seasonal work. He’s honed his interviewing skills and updated his resume thanks to classes offered by Back on My Feet. He hopes to be able to put both to good use soon with goals of one day working again as a nurse’s assistant so he can get out of the shelter and back to his son.

You can support Austin and the rest of Team Running Home by making a tax-deductible donation to the team. For more ways to help Team Running Home cross the finish line of the 2012 Boston Marathon, contact Vic Acosta at vic@backonmyfeet.org.