Monday, November 5, 2007

Hunger Week at Belmont Abbey College supports Street Soccer for the 2nd Year in a Row.

Belmont Abbey College hosted their annual Hunger Week at the College to raise awareness and funds to support the homeless and impoverished in the Charlotte area last week. Part of Hunger Week was a 5k run and 1 mile walk on Saturday. The student commitee that organized the race chose Street Soccer 945 again this year as the beneficiary of the funraiser. Participants, mostly students, paid an entry fee and raced with the motto in mind "will run for food." Entry fees and sponsorships from local businesses totaled $2600 that was donated directly to Street Soccer 945. Incredible; thank you Belmont Abbey! We are pictured here receiving our check with the "Will Run for Food" commitee.

Racers from Street Soccer 945 included Rodney, John, Sherwood, Diane, Ray, Toney, me, Rob Cann, and our mascot for the day, my dog Ulrich. We met at the UMC at 7am when it was still dark out and the weather still pretty chilly but holding true to their word our runners showed up to represent the team. In particular Rodney Giles, 18 years old, who has been with the team for just the last month, was a standout. Rodney, running in his first race, walked 3 miles from the emergency winter shelter just to get to the center on Saturday so he could then run in the 5k. Rodney is pictured here with his number just before the race began. He finished just behind the coach, but far ahead of his other teammates. My advice to the runners was to start out with a slow jog and to settle into a steady pace. Rodney decided he was going to go at the run a little differently. He started with a sprint, jumping out in front of everyone only to burn out and start walking a quarter mile into the race, a classic long distance run mistake. Ulrich and I came zig-zaging up and got in Rodney's ear as we passed by him only to see a streak of blue pass by us a minute later as he sprinted out a hundred yards ahead. Again he could not sustain his pace. This was our pattern for the race. It mimicked the flow of Rodney's life right now. He is up at 4:30 am at the winter shelter to go four miles to Einstein Bagel for his shift which is seven hours long. With nowhere to rest, he finds any place he can to re-energize before he starts his night job valet parking. When his job finishes, he has a 4 mile walk back to the winter shelter for another small rest. Run, walk, run, walk, run walk. Starting and stopping and fighting fatigue is what Rodney has to do until he can gather enough money to find his own place to live. With his good spirits and calm demeanor and the drive he showed in the race on Saturday, success, at least on a small, school looks eminent for this young man.

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