Training for distance runs puts homeless men and women ‘back on their feet.’

    The “Back on My Feet” 20 in 24 Race helps homeless men and women get in shape and pull their lives together at the same time.

    Runners will take to the roads along the Schuylkill River this weekend for the third annual Stroehmann “Back on My Feet” 20 in 24 Race.  Runners will compete in various distance events to raise funds for Back on My Feet, an organization that seeks to provide life skills to homeless men and women through running.  Some of the competitors have come a long way just to make it to the starting line.

    Claudell Edwards has lived at the Ridge Avenue Shelter in Roxborough for about a year.  Fortunately for him, that’s when Back on My Feet came to the shelter looking for recruits.  Edwards, also known as ‘Fifty,’ trains three times a week.  He says in the year since he started, he’s seen improvement in his health and more.

    “When I first joined, I was terribly overweight,” he says.  “And I lost 40 pounds over the first couple of months, and I felt so good about that.  And it’s really just uplifting to get out there and train for running.”

    Edwards says running has given him purpose.  He has started writing for a new publication written by homeless individuals called ‘One Step Away.’  He’s also moving into transitional housing in Germantown and has completed a job training course in computers.

    Edwards will run in the relay event, during which he’ll complete the entire 8.4 mile loop from Falls Bridge in East Falls to the Art Museum.

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