It was a story that stuck with Alison Jackson.
Competing for Canada at the world university cross-country championships in Uganda back in March, other competitors approached the Trinity Western Spartans long distance runner to see if she happened to have any spare spikes she had brought along that she wouldn’t mind leaving behind.
Some of her competitors were even running barefoot.
That’s why when she heard about Langley teenager Hannah Beaton — who will be a teammate of Jackson’s next year on the Spartans track and field team — and her Step in Someone Else’s Shoes program, she knew it was a perfect fit.
Beaton’s program, which the 18-year-old began a few years ago, collects shoes for inner city children. In three years, she has redistributed about 450 pairs of shoes.
Beaton was the 2014 recipient of the Pete Swensson Outstanding Community Youth Award from the Township of Langley.
“Hearing about Hannah’s (shoe) collecting to help others is such a remarkable thing,” Jackson said.
It prompted her to contact Beaton and the pair are now teaming up to collect running shoes that will be taken to Ethiopia this August.
Jackson is organizing the missions trip through Trinity Western University which is expected to feature about 10 Spartan long distance runners.
“There is a need for shoes (there), this will be really well received,” Jackson said.
The group is going on a missions trip to help at HOPEthiopia, an orphanage in Ethiopia.
As well as delivering the shoes to local runners in the area, the student-athletes will also help out at the orphanage during their trip.
The runners also hope to run with some of the local clubs as Ethiopia has long produced some of the world’s top long-distance runners.
The orphanage is located about an hour outside of Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, and the route to the city is a popular one, Jackson said.
Beaton is thrilled her program is opening up.
“I would love to see my shoe program grow into donating shoes to humanitarian aid and missions trips in order to bring shoes to those in need across the world,” she said, adding it is also important not to lose sight of the vision for helping those in the community.
As part of the annual Langley Walk, which takes place on May 4, Beaton will be on hand to collect shoes, both to send to Ethiopia and for the Step in Someone Else’s Shoes program.
Beaton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Jackson at email@example.com.