Riverside runner hopes shoe drive will increase participation in sport

Name: Cameron Boyce
Years running: Three

What made you decide to collect shoes?
When I started running, the only equipment that cross country required was a good pair of running shoes. The right pair of shoes can have a huge impact of the effectiveness of your training and the speed of your race time. Then I started thinking about all the kids that aren't able to participate in the sport they love because they don't have a good pair of tennis shoes. This encouraged me to try look for a chance to help those in need in my community. This is where my shoe drive was born!

Where will the shoes go? 
The shoes will go to the students at the Eastside YMCA after school program to help them participate in sports and fitness activities. For the larger shoe sizes donated, I am working with my school guidance department to donate the shoes to local title one high schools that they think needs them. If I have any other extra shoes, I am going to donate them to Soles4Souls, an organization that gives out shoes to those in need in the United States and 127 countries.

How long will you be collecting shoes?
The Eye Opener shoe drive will be my main shoe collecting event, but I will also be collecting shoes at the Greer Sugar Creek Triathlon on Monday, Sept. 5. I am also collecting shoes at the Bob Jenkins SCTCCCA Coaches Classic on Saturday, Sept. 10.

What has the experience been like to collect shoes? 
It has definitely been a humbling and amazing experience. My team has supported me so much by donating shoes, and the support my coach has given me has been so helpful. Collecting shoes has also made me realize how much I have to be thankful for. I am able to have two good pairs of running shoes per season, and imagining that a student my age can't have one pair makes me appreciate what I often take for granted.

What is your goal? 
I don't have a specific number in mind for my project. My goal is to collect as many shoes as possible and try to impact as many lives as I can.

Do you see this project continuing with your troop every year?
I don't see my project specifically repeating itself, but hopefully I can inspire some other runner to do the same thing in their community.

How did you get involved with running?
I participated in Girls On the Run when I was in elementary school and had run in a few 5Ks before. After I didn't make my middle school's basketball team, I knew I wanted to try a new sport. I knew I had enjoyed running in the past, so I joined the cross country team! It was one of the best decisions I've ever made, and I've never regretted it.

What goals do you have this season?
I want to achieve a personal best of under 21 minutes this season and I want to be an encouraging influence on all our young runners.

If people don't make Eye Opener this weekend, how do they get you the shoes?
I will be collecting shoes at the Greer Sugar Creek Triathlon on Monday, Sept. 5 and can collect shoes at the Bob Jenkins SCTCCCA Coaches Classic on Saturday, Sept. 10 as well.