For the last six months, one of the original Wanderers, Randy Clever, hasn’t been seen much at club workouts. Had he become that most dreaded of words…. A Slacker? It turns out the answer is just the opposite.
Three mornings every week since November, Randy has been getting up well before dawn to train with the Back on My Feet (BOMF) runners in North Philadelphia. The workouts start at 5:40, and Randy is there every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
“One of the things I really appreciate about BOMF is how we’re all out there just to encourage one another – no distinction between resident and non-residents,” said Randy. “I do really find them all — residents, volunteers, students — an inspiration and I think that’s what keeps me going out again and again at that time in the morning.”
Randy’s group varies a bit each day but averages between eight and 12 runners, half volunteers and half BOMF members. Back on My Feet operates five locations in the city. Randy’s group meets at 20th and Norris Street not far from the Temple Campus. The BOMF runners at this location come from the New Jerusalem Now, a nearby residential addiction recovery center. newjerusalemnow.org
“They are trying to get their lives back on track after having abused their bodies for so long with drugs or alcohol,” said Randy. “I find the program to be really rewarding. The progress they make is inspiring.
“It is great to know these guys.”
The workouts start with stretching and calisthenics, and sometimes even a bit of yoga followed by a group huddle and pep talk. On Wednesdays, everyone heads off down Norris Street to the track at Temple where they run laps for about a half hour. On the other two days, they just run or walk the streets of Philadelphia. The workouts last about an hour in all. For the runners, the training is not work. Morale is high even at this time in the morning!
The goal for most of the runners is to participate in local races, with the 5k events being the most popular. Actually one of the favorite races for BOMF is the Wanderers summer track meet which gets lots of runners from the organization.
The volunteers come from different parts of the city, and one volunteer even comes in from the Collegeville area. “Back on My Feet is always looking for volunteers,” Randy added.
The program was started in 2007 by a Philadelphia resident Anne Mahlum to help homeless Philadelphians and now has nine branches across the country. backonmyfeet.org/
One of the most successful fund raising events for Back on My Feet is the 24-hour relay which this year is scheduled for July 14 and 15. The relay race which was started in 2008 consists of loops around Kelly Drive/Martin Luther King Drive in Center City. The Wanderers are planning on entering a team this year. If interested, all the information is listed on this web site: 20in24.com/register-now.html.
Contact Dan Gordon or Randy Clever if interested.