Homeless man takes aim at marathon with group's help

Amy Freeze reports on how running is helping to turn one man's life around
November 2, 2013 9:44:26 AM PDT
An organization called Back on My Feet began in New York City two years ago, helping those who are making the transition from living on the street to getting jobs and returning to self sufficiency.

They use running to help the homeless, and it has worked so well that one homeless man in Times Square is planning to run the ING NYC Marathon.

Keith is a 49-year-old homeless Army veteran who has never been a runner, but just getting on his feet before the sun comes up is hard enough.

Then, there's warming up to the idea that organized running could be the kind of self discipline it will take to move forward.

"I'm from Houston, Texas," Keith said. "I came here through trying to change my life and get through drug addiction."

Keith was down on himself and lost for purpose, but he's found everything he needs in a morning run with Back on My Feet.

They brought shoes and gear with the promise from residents to show up three times per week at 5:30 a.m.

"These people dedicate themselves for 4 a.m. to come meet us, and our attitudes are not always the most positive in the in the morning," he said. "And they always have a smile on their face, always talking about something positive. I've never heard them say anything negative. And it gave me energy to go through my day with positive attitude and to want to change."

The Times Square team started training seven months ago, and Keith will be the first member to run the full marathon.

"I don't really feel homeless, even though where I'm at technically is homeless," he said. "But inside, I feel I have abundance of life and a home in myself...I had a home, but I was always lost. And now I don't have a home, but I'm found. I've found the peace I was looking for."

While training for the marathon, Keith secured full-time work as a flatbed truck driver in Manhattan and is in the process of obtaining housing in Queens. It will be the first time he will have lived independently.

The Back on My Feet Team will be cheering on all marathoners at Mile 25 on Sunday.

For more on Back on My Feet, visit NYC.BackOnMyFeet.org. To make a contribution for the marathon, CLICK HERE.