Charlotte is a city filled with runners. You see them on the streets. You see them on the greenways. You see them when it’s 90 degrees outside and you see them when it’s 30 degrees. The Queen City has even been recognized as one of the top cities in the country for runners.
And all those runners you see around town? They each have a story of how running has changed their life. For some, running has simply increased their fitness. For others, running has improved their health. And for some, thanks to RunningWorks, running has provided a way out of homelessness.
Since 2012, RunningWorks has been dedicated to the cause of working to end homelessness and food-insecurity in the Carolinas, using running and education to empower individuals and families to break cycles of abuse, neglect, poverty and homelessness one stride at a time.
“All of these runners have remarkable stories, and they are working to achieve some amazing goals,” said Meredith Dolhare, RunningWorks founder and executive director. “At RunningWorks, we follow a curriculum that focuses on goal-setting and instilling the all-important values that can be accrued through sport. One of the most important things we have found is that with each race that our team completes, their confidence to reach their full potential increases. Whether the distance is 26.2 miles, 13.1 miles or 5K, completing each race helps them to realize that anything is possible with hard work and perseverance. This realization has gone a long way in helping many of our members attain the ultimate goals of finding employment and housing. Running works!”
Quincy Gaines was going through a rough time when he joined RunningWorks. He’d lost his job, his car and his housing. He was also weighed 400 pounds and was struggling to lose weight. “I was depressed,” Gaines said. “They strengthened me.”
Gaines has lost 100 pounds, is now employed and has housing. “Because of RunningWorks I was able to find the motivation to lose the weight and get back to work.”
Wednesday, June 6, is Global Running Day, a day about celebrating the sport of running and encouraging people of all fitness levels to see running as a fun way to stay fit. It is also a time when many organizations and groups around the world use the sport to bring awareness to special causes impacting their communities.
RunningWorks will host its 3rd Annual 12-Hour Run to End Homelessness and Hunger presented by Trinity Partners. Beginning at 6 a.m., the team consisting mostly of men, women and children who have experienced or are experiencing homelessness in our community will hit the streets of Uptown Charlotte for a 12-hour relay-style run in a united effort to bring awareness to issues faced by people experiencing homelessness and poverty in the Carolinas.
To learn more about RunningWorks, run on over to the big blue RunningWorks tent on the Corner of Trade and Tryon Streets on June 6 from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.
*Photos courtesy RunningWorks