Coalition celebrates runners’ accomplishments

Did you know that today is National Running Day? According to the official website, June 1 is a day for “runners everywhere to declare their passion for running.” In order to commemorate this event, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida wanted to share with our readers some of the accomplishments of our First Steps Running Group.

For over three years, our homeless men battling substance abuse have had the opportunity to develop healthy lifestyles and fellowship with other First Steps clients through the volunteer-run program. Since its inception, nearly 35 of our residents have participated!

Last December, a few of our clients participated in the Orlando Utilities Commission sponsored races at Lake Eola and returned with some impressive accolades! Pictured in the photo above, Gary Cantrell (r) and Willie Sims (l) completed the 13.1 mile half-marathon, and Tommy Lynch (c) completed the 3.1 mile 5K. We were so proud of them!

Since the races in December, the group has also participated in the Winter Park 5K in February, a March 5K at Leu Gardens, and the Corporate 5K in downtown Orlando during April.

Of course, this program and these wonderful achievements wouldn’t be possible if not for our wonderful volunteers! Three times a week, Dave Sutton, Sue Arbuckle (flanking clients), Dan Arbuckle, and Dennis and Edna Ramsey generously lend their time to helping the men prepare for upcoming races. The volunteers also offer gently-used running clothes and shoes to eager participants.

Again, we are so proud of our runners and their inspiring accomplishments. In honor of National Running Day, we encourage them to keep running!