Sneaker drive helps Gathering Place get its clients on the right footing

This year’s Tely 10 Mile Road Race is teaming up with The Gathering Place to accept donations of old running shoes for people in need.

The not-for-profit and Tely 10 want your old running shoes

The Gathering Place is taking donations from runners signed up for the Tely 10. They're hoping for 2000 pairs of shoes to help their guests. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

If you're thinking about running the Tely 10 this weekend, you can also help out a good cause.

This year's Tely 10 Mile Road Race is teaming up with The Gathering Place to accept donations of old running shoes for people in need.

"People need comfortable sneakers to walk," Nancy Elkins said.

Elkins is the volunteer coordinator for The Gathering Place.

"As a runner, you go through four or five pairs of sneakers per year. So you have many sneakers that are no longer good for running but are perfect for walking, and that's what our guests need."  

The Gathering Place has been in operation since 1994. It's a social enterprise based mostly on donations. Its goal is helping people with struggles ranging from mental health issues, addictions, homelessness and abuse.

Thousands of runners, walkers and wheelchair users flock to the starting line for the annual Tely 10. (Tely 10/Twitter)

For anyone picking up their race kits for the 91st annual race, they can make their donations on the spot at the Re/Max Centre from July 19 to 21.

"We're hoping for 2000 pairs of running shoes," Elkins said.

"We have about 2000 guests right now."

Executive director Joanne Thompson says the shoes will mostly be gone within a day of their availability.

"Talk about need," she said.

"It's absolutely outrageous that somebody in our society, with the fact that we all have so much, like five or six pairs of shoes in a closet that we probably don't even wear, when there's somebody who doesn't have one solid pair that they can put on."

The guests

Jennifer Peddle is a guest of The Gathering Place. She knows exactly how other guests will feel if they get new running shoes.

"To have a new pair of sneakers, it's just going to be like Christmas for them," Peddle said.

"It's something that they usually don't have the privilege of having. There is a real sense of pride because they get to show them off and feel like they're part of society."

Hoards of runners are moving throughout downtown Vancouver Saturday for the annual SeaWheeze half marathon. (Shutterstock)
    

The Tely 10 road race starts in Paradise and ends in downtown St. John's, at Bannerman Park. The course runs directly past The Gathering Place as runners sprint, or limp, to the finish line.

"Many of our guests will be out there that day cheering on the runners," Elkins said. "So runners, please pass us your shoes. We need them."

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