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For every runner: Getting everyone to the starting line

Running should be for everyone. It shouldn’t matter whether you’ve just convinced yourself to lace up for the first time or you’re prepping for your 50th marathon. All you have to do to be a runner is start running. But for some, going for a run is not quite as simple as just lacing up your running shoes.

 

Beginner or pro athlete, commuter, fitness fan or dream chaser - whatever your age, ability, sexual orientation, culture or race, anyone can be a runner. At least, in theory. 

 

For some people, going for a run just isn’t as easy as it is for others. Whether it’s a physical challenge, a social mountain, a mental hurdle or a safety issue, running just isn’t as accessible to everyone as some may think it is. 

 

At On we believe everyone should be able to enjoy the runner’s high. That’s why we partner with organizations globally who focus on mitigating barriers to running and help their communities go further than they dreamed. Two such organizations are Ainsley’s Angels and 48 For Change. We talked to Kim “Rooster” Rossiter from Ainsley’s Angels, and Justin and Erin Shields from 48 For Change about the work they are doing and their plans for the coming year.

 

48 For Change

 

Founded in 2020, 48 For Change aims to make a difference one mile at a time by inspiring awareness, change, and action around common social issues through running. 

 

 

Why do you feel running is a medium to drive change?

We believe approaching a race is similar to making a fight for change. You’re going to encounter situations on both paths where you’ll need the right attributes to push through. Whether you’ve never run before or are a racing-pro, running pushes you in many ways. Mentally, physically, socially, emotionally. And it’s the same with driving social change. 

 

Running opens your eyes to new things, new communities and new people – inspiring social change does too. Running takes resilience, endurance, motivation and confidence. So does driving social change. And if you can strengthen and build these attributes in one area, you can push through in the other.

 

What are your goals for 48 For Change over the next 12 months?

The goal for 48 For Change over the next 12 months is the same as our lifetime goal: inspire change both physically and socially. Our co-founder, Tyler, passed away in 2021 so our overarching goal is to remember him and keep his jovial and loving spirit with us in all that we do.

 

What that looks like in reality is hosting our second annual Venice 5K, raising money for underprivileged communities through our annual 48 For Floyd event and taking part in the LA marathon with 40 members of our community. For over 30 of them it will be their first ever marathon, crossing off one of their bucket-list events! We will also continue our monthly clothing drive where we collect clothes from the 48 For Change running community and donate to local organizations in LA.

 

How has On helped you show up for your community in a new way?

When On decided to support 48 For Change it was so encouraging as it showed us that even though it was only just the beginning, others believe we have the ability to inspire and create change in our community. 

 

With the help of On we’ve been able to do community events on a much bigger scale than we could have dreamed on our own. We hosted a city 5K run a few months ago and having On at the event - as well as supporting the planning and creation - made a huge difference to us. On’s support helps us stay focused and achieve our goals.

 

 

Ainsley’s Angels

 

Ainsley’s Angels works with America’s running industry to build awareness about the importance of creating all-inclusive opportunities within the world of running and in everyday life. By bringing Angel Runners (those who push adaptive chairs) together with Angel Athlete Riders (those who run with assistance of the adaptive chair and Angel Runners), Ainsley’s Angels not only challenges the runner stereotype, but also proves everyone can embrace that exhilarating runner’s high. Based on their belief, "Together, We Shall", they create exceptional experiences for everyone and welcome anyone to join their collective effort.

 

 

Why do you feel running is a medium to drive change? 

Running brings joy, laughter and smiles to all who experience this human right to run. For our Angel Athlete Riders, this experience can also be the first time they experience authentic acceptance. For many, it’s their first victory, their first social meeting making new friends, their first time crossing the finish line instead of being on the sidelines. And for their families and carers, it’s an opportunity to realise they are not alone. 

 

No matter the race distance, size or location, at the heart of Ainsley’s Angels is the belief that all individuals deserve to be included. By extending an invitation to everyone, we create a running experience for all. Angel Runners offer their legs to push an Angel Athlete Rider who otherwise may not accomplish a race on their own and together we encourage each other to push through the challenges and celebrate the victories - whether that’s a race finish line or a health battle. 

 

What are your goals for Ainsley's Angels over the next 12 months? 

We are ready to get back on the race course and into our communities as safely as possible in the next 12 months, continuing to spread the importance of inclusion across America. In 2022 we will unveil our Angel Development Program and launch several education initiatives. We’ll also host our inclusive 5K Ainsley’s Angels Race Series around the country as well as outreach events like our youth engagement program, Club Schwing. 

 

How has On helped you show up for your community in a new way?

On’s support and innovation allows us to enable everyone to have the right to run and enjoy the runner’s high. The partnership gives us so many new opportunities to create all-inclusive communities. It allows us to teach inclusion and diversity to the next generation, providing educational resource and events that bring everyone together and show that together we can accomplish anything. On has also provided funding for our Southern California location to purchase a new, custom-made racing chariot which will be unveiled early in 2022.

 

 

Want to get involved?

 

If these stories have inspired you to become part of helping others break down barriers to running, you can find out more about the work of 48 For Change or Ainsley’s Angels on their websites.

 

Being able to support the work of Ainsley’s Angels, 48 For Change and other organizations around the world is an incredible honor. Keep your eyes open for more stories in the coming months of great organizations we’re partnering with to ensure everyone has the right to run. 

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