Tell us more about Mile in My Shoes (MiMS)?
Mile in My Shoes (MiMS) is a Twin Cities based organization that builds running teams at homeless shelters and re-entry programs for people leaving incarceration. Founded in 2014, we have run with and trained hundreds of homeless and previously incarcerated individual for distances from 5K to full marathons.
The mission of MiS is running together to change perceptions and change lives. We do this with defined goals of relationship building, creating life long runners, promoting leadership and self efficacy, as well as personal and political engagement in homeless and incarceration re-entry issues.
We have four teams teams in the Twin Cities area and one in Fargo, ND. The teams are made up of residents from the locations and volunteer run mentors from the community. Each team has organized runs, three times a week with the goal of three to four races each year. To further reduce the barrier to participation, MiMS provides all the required gear (shoes and clothes) and race entry fees.
This year, we are having to reformat a bit due to COVID-19 and have moved our training to smaller remote groups.
What is your role with MiMS and how long have you been with them?
This is my sixth season running with MiMS. I’ve held multiple roles over the years. Currently, I am a coach with one of our teams and a member of the board of directors.
Does MiMS have any other chapters across the US? If not, is that in the plans?
We do. This year we started a new team in Fargo, ND. This is our first team outside of the Twin Cities area. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 situation, the team has not had a chance to do group runs yet. Because we are still a small organization, we are careful about expansion but our experience with starting a new remote team gives us a path to more teams in the future.
What do you enjoy most about being involved with MiMS?
In the six years of running with MiMS, I have had many wonderful experiences across multiple teams with multiple people. It is these experiences that keep me coming back and staying involved. Dozens of times I’ve witnessed people accomplish things they did not believe they could. It may be running their first mile, consistently showing up to establish a new healthy habit or even finishing a marathon. Regardless of the specific accomplishment, seeing somebody realize they are able to do more than they thought will always be special.
Some of my favorite stories that illustrate what MiMS is all about is with Peter, a member from our Higher Ground Minneapolis Shelter Team.
Peter and I joined MiMS the very same day. Peter wasn’t sure about committing to a race due to not knowing if he could run a full 5k. When I pointed out that we had just finished a 3.5 mile run and therefore he just ran more than a 5k, you could see the realization that he was capable of more than he thought.
Being witness to his realization that he was more than capable was great. The following year Peter trained for and finished a full marathon! Training for a marathon is difficult under the best of circumstances. Training with Peter while he lived in a shelter was an incredible experience. Elements we take for granted, such as sleep and nutrition are not so simple when you’re homeless. It was inspiring to see Peter overcome his personal situation to train and complete a full marathon.
Since then Peter has finished a second marathon and moved out of the shelter into his own place.
There are a lot of perceived notions regarding those that are homeless or incarcerated. Has your experience with MiMS changed your views or perception of those that are homeless or incarcerated?
Absolutely. When I first started running with MiMS, all of my perceptions of the homeless were based on media stories or the people I would see panhandling and I didn’t know anything about returning from incarceration. When you build relationships with people, you learn about them and their situations. You hear their stories. They become much more than the limited view presented by the media. MiMS also intentionally educates our mentors about issues related to homelessness and incarceration. We want our mentors to also be advocates and help to educate others.
Your event, Downtown Run Around from Aug 21-23rd 2020 is now virtual – can anyone participate?
Yes! Like so many events our annual 5K fundraiser event has had to change our format to a virtual race. We will miss the community and celebration of having 400 MiMS residents, mentors and support run a 5K together but going virtual also presents new opportunities. We are adding a 10k option and we don’t have to cap our attendance to conform to a city permit.
We use our events as a training goal for our residents so this year I will be working with other mentors to remotely train around 40 residents from our partner facilities. It would be great to see UESCA coaches and athletes from all over the globe participating in a MiMS event.
Registration info can be found here: https://runsignup.com/Race/MN/Minneapolis/DowntownRunAroundwithMileinMyShoes
Follow the event on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/503702290562117/
More info and stories about mentors and residents can be found at http://www.mileinmyshoes.mn or follow MiMS at https://www.facebook.com/mileinmyshoes/, https://www.instagram.com/mileinmyshoes.mn/
Rick Prince is the founder/director of United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy (UESCA), a science-based endurance sports education company. UESCA educates and certifies running and triathlon coaches (cycling and ultrarunning coming soon!) worldwide on a 100% online platform.
Click here to download the UESCA Triathlon Course Overview/Syllabus
Click here to download the UESCA Running Course Overview/Syllabus