Trees of Hope: Young Athletes Foundation and Running Shoe Program

December 15, 2017 10:57 PM

Runners know that shoes make all the difference. But they can be expensive, especially if you're in high school, and need both training and racing shoes. "The average price of a training shoe is $120," explained Jarrow Wahman, co-owner of Austin-Jarrow in Duluth.

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They have rows and rows of shoes, each made for a specific type of running or track activity. "The sprinting shoes are the lightest, with the least amount of cushioning on the balls of the feed. Mid-distance, there is some cushioning. And distance, there's the most cushioning," he said.

Thanks to the Young Athletes Foundation, high school track and cross country runners are able to buy high-quality shoes, even if they can't afford them. The YAF, along with Austin-Jarrow, Tortoise and Hare Footwear, and Duluth Running Company participate in the Running Shoe Program. The program provides free shoe certificates to athletes from around the region.

Since it began in 1991, the program has provided certificates for 3200 pairs of shoes. 

Deanna Kerzie, the long-time girls track coach at Eveleth Gilbert, said the program has been wonderful. "The kids get so excited to get their certificate, and come down here and get a really good shoe. These shoes are fit personally for the student, and helps them avoid injuries." 

Other coaches, like Jayne Dusich from Ely, added that some kids will run in old shoes, because they are afraid to ask their parents for new ones. 

Wahman said it's a great way to build the next generation of runners. "It keeps bringing runners into the system. We don't want it to stop."

You can help support the Young Athletes Foundation through our Trees of Hope campaign with HOM Furniture. The YAF is part of the Grandma's Marathon organization.



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