A closet overflowing with shoes? Mine is. Got a new pair of running shoes but have yet to recycle, or toss, the old ones? That’s me. Ready to clear space to make room for more trainers whether they be for running, cycling, fitness, hiking…you get the idea? Definitely.
There’s a simple way to free up space and do a good deed: donate your shoes. For me, that’s often easier said than done. I’ll choose the shoes, drop them into a shopping bag and then shove the bag into the closet instead of marching directly to the running store where the shoe collection bin awaits (I have better luck donating food at a packet pickup). But getting the heads up to bring my used shoes to a race and donate them there? I can do that. And I don’t have to wait long since the upcoming 13.1 Marathon on June 9 offers the opportunity.
Allstate Insurance Company and Give Your Sole , a non-profit organization that has been collecting moderately used shoes at races and keeping the donations local since starting in 2009, are making it possible to donate your shoes this weekend at the Allstate Life Insurance 13.1 Marathon in Chicago. The shoes that are collected, between those donated at the finish line festival and at packet pickup during the week, will be donated to Breakthrough , a local organization that provides shelter, meals and other services to homeless men, women and children in the city.
I don’t know why, but knowing that my shoes could potentially pace around Chicago, just on different feet, makes me less sad to part with the shoes that helped me qualify for Boston, or finish my first triathlon, or trudge through the Muddy Buddy mud pit and across the Beachpalooza sand. So does knowing that I can donate the shoes off my feet at the 13.1 finish line and receive flip-flops to wear home. And so does knowing that I can hand off my shoes to Chicago Bears’ first-round draft pick Shea McClellin (who says you can’t get a little pro-athlete star struck?). McClellin will be the first to tell you that he's not a runner--his mom ran cross-country but he affirms that trait didn't rub off on him--but he's been donating his used football cleats to his high school for years.
Good news for runners who don’t live in the Windy City but are thinking about running another 13.1 Marathon later in the year. Allstate and Give Your Sole are continuing their efforts at the 13.1 races in Boston (Sept. 16), Atlanta (Oct. 7), Dallas (Oct. 27) and Ft. Lauderdale (Nov. 11). For more details, check out www.131marathon.com or www.giveyoursole.org , and then dig through your closet.