It’s race week in the city.
The JetBlue Long Beach Marathon and Half Marathon is approaching the starting line, leaving participants with just days to prepare for the big 26.2 mile race.
Runners train throughout the year to build enough strength and stamina to carry themselves across the finish line on race day. Due to the extensive training, it’s commonplace for runners to go through multiple pairs of running shoes, according to Eloisa Orozco, communications manager for Waste Management of Southern California.
“We didn’t pass it off to someone else — we got together and rolled up our sleeves and cleaned the shoes,” she said. “It got messy, but it was so worth it knowing that people who didn’t have shoes will have them.”
Participants can drop off their shoes at Waste Management/Long Beach Rescue Mission booth in the health and fitness fair at The Long Beach Convention Center, Hall C, on race days. There also will be a drop-off spot at the finish line.
“The people who feel it in their heart to do so can take off their shoes after crossing the finish line,” Orozco said. “The need for the shoes is there in the community and we want to thank the runners for being generous enough to donate theirs.”
“Not everyone is going to use their shoes again,” she said. Some of the runners go through multiple pairs of shoes during training.”
Instead of tossing the shoes in the trash, Orozco and the Waste Management team are encouraging runners to donate their shoes when they’re done using them.
“We are holding a shoe drive in conjunction with the 2017 Long Beach Marathon,” she added. “The idea is to collect the shoes and help locals in need as well as promote sustainability in the city.”
She noted that the shoe drive is another way the city is supporting sustainability and encouraging residents to reduce, reuse and recycle.
“You don’t have to do much,” she said. “Just donate the pairs of shoes that you no longer use.”
All of the shoes will be washed, restored and then donated to the Long Beach Rescue Mission, where they will be dispersed to Long Beachers in need.
Waste Management hosted a shoe drive during the 2014 Long Beach Marathon and Half Marathon. This the first shoe drive they have organized since.