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SMC cross country to donate shoes to Uganda

Allison Franklin | Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On Sept. 5, the participants of the 2nd Annual Saint Mary’s Alumnae Race crossed a finish line made up of old running shoes, but these shoes were much more than just a finish line.

Instead of charging a race entrance fee, the Saint Mary’s cross country team collected old sneakers, which they plan to send to those in need in Uganda.

Uganda is among the world’s poorest countries. Approximately half of 32.4 million Ugandans live below the international poverty line, which is a $1.25 per day.

Saint Mary’s cross country coach Jackie Bauters came up with the idea of helping Ugandans after two College nursing students, Caitlin Brodmerkel and Megan McClowry, both volunteered at a clinic in Uganda over the summer.

Brodmerkel, a former captain who graduated in 2008, volunteered in Uganda in the summer of 2008, and McClowry, who is a captain this year, volunteered during the summer of 2009.

After Bauters suggested working with the connection that the Belles now had with Uganda, the cross country team got together and brainstormed. The team realized that, as runners, they owned a large amount of old sneakers they no longer needed and “one idea led to another,” according to Alicen Miller, a 2008 graduate and former captain.

However, the Saint Mary’s cross country team does not have everything it needs to complete this service project. While participants in Saturday’s race donated shoes as an entrance fee and some generous alumnae donated money, sending shoes to Uganda is both expensive and complicated. “We’re looking for corporate sponsors,” Miller said.

The race on Saturday was the second Alumnae Race held by the Saint Mary’s cross country team. Students and Alumnae were joined by faculty and parents, all of whom donated running shoes.

The Belles were also able to build on the success of last year’s Alumnae Race.

“We had a really good turnout. A lot of alums came back,” Miller said. “Hopefully the race will continue to grow.”

Anyone interested in donating shoes can e-mail Jackie Bauters, the coach of the cross country team, at jbauters@saintmarys.edu