Most of you know that my sister is the Communications Director for Back on My Feet in Indianapolis. While I haven’t been super involved with the program yet in D.C., I was excited to run with her group while I was home on my birthday.

What’s Back on My Feet?

A non-profit organization that works with halfway houses, homeless and rehab centers to help residents and participants get “back on their feet” through running to regain self-sufficiency in their lives.

Basically, those who want to participate must commit to running with the group at least 3x per week. If they have a 90% attendance rate at practices after 30 days in the program (which begin around 5:30 a.m.), they are able to receive financial assistance to be put toward bills, loans, schooling and more. They are eligible to receive work education classes and more. You can read more about the program and steps here. 

My mom and I running with James, a BOMF participant. We went 20 miles together!

More importantly, they join a warm, friendly, uplifting community of people who can re-ignite a spark of hope in their lives. As the BOMF web site says, participants join “a community that embraces equality, respect, discipline, teamwork and leadership.” Now, those are things some of these folks haven’t seen or felt in quite some time.


One thing I love about BOMF is the hugs. Hugging is an essential, important part of the program and there is a lot of it. There is something about that embrace, the human touch, that can reach into someone’s heart. It’s as if to say, you are loved, you are accepted.

The practice begins with everyone putting their arms around one another and saying the Serenity Prayer. Here’s the Indy team before an event:

You know how it is starting a Monday morning off sluggish and dreading the week? Running kind of kicks that to the curb. In running and physical exercise, there are endorphins, motivation, inspiration, determination and spirit. By offering the incentives to join group, BOMF offers people a chance at experiencing real life again — a chance to feel strong and hopeful and inspired and joyful.

The first few miles of a long 20 in Indianapolis with BOMF
When you come to a morning practice or participate in a weekend event, it’s all smiles and hugs. It’s encouragement and goal setting and accomplishing. There’s something within running and exercise that you just can’t get from drinking or drugs or self pity — or even medicine or healthy food. It’s indescribable and BOMF has brought people back to life. And that is a priceless gift.

And while it may be hard to get up in the mornings, hardly anything beats a beautiful morning sunrise. To me, that is one of life’s greatest pleasures:

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