Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern
Rae Heim is one tough cookie. Just a couple months after graduating from high school, the 18-year-old decided to run across the country – barefoot – to raise money for charity. The organization, Soles4Souls, provides shoes to kids who can’t afford their own. Heim hopes to raise $5,000, which would equal 5,000 pairs of shoes for kids all over the world. Why did Heim choose to go barefoot? “So someone else wouldn’t have to,” she says.
We spoke with Rae while she was in Carroll, Iowa, about halfway through her journey.
How did you get into running?
I had never been a runner, but I wanted to help my mom at this seven-mile race in Davenport to sell her running line. They design and manufacture the women’s running line Run Girl Run, which I love. The day before, we decided we were going to run it for fun. Once I crossed the finished line, it was the best feeling. It was like I accomplished something that was bigger than anything I’ve done before.
Is the running across the country taking a toll on your body?
Not really. The biggest challenge was after the first week, when I was running with a backpack because it was just so awkward and heavy. I felt it in my knees and lower back. Now I run with a Bob Ironman stroller.
How do you fuel up?
Usually I’ll eat a light breakfast, like Puffins cereal, and then on my run I’ll get an apple or a banana at a gas station. I work with a sports nutritionist and she keeps things simple. When I feel like my sugar might be dropping, I pop some Skittles or Starburst until I can get better carbs in my system. Then, after running anywhere from 20 to 25 miles, I’ll have a big dinner with my host family. That’s been my favorite part about running – just meeting new people.
Did you know…
- One in four adults across the globe live on less than $1 a day, making even daily essentials hard to afford
- Feet with cuts can easily get infected by ground debris, and these infections can become life-threatening
- In 2011, Americans tossed more than 300 million pairs of shoes
For these reasons and more (including our need to replace our gym flip-flops and gear up for summer!), we were pumped to hear about a new partnership with the non-profit Soles4Souls and Planet Flops. For each pair of the $28 sandals sold online, Planet Flops will donate another pair to those in need here in the U.S. and in developing countries including Haiti, India and Sudan.
Another neat way to help the cause: Download the new all-star country song “The Choice” by artists including Kellie Pickler, LeAnn Rimes, Keith Urban and more. All proceeds from the song go directly to help put shoes on feet of those without. Click here for a sample and/or to download.
And for more about Souls4Soles and other organizations that will help your fitness gear find a new life, check out this recent recycling roundup from our friends at FitSugar!
More from FITNESS:
- The FITNESS 2012 Sneaker Guide
- Get Fit On a Budget: 10 Ways to Save Money While Staying Fit
- Injury-Proof Your Shoes