One runner’s dedication to helping others helped him snag a nomination for One Man Dallas, a project highlighting outstanding men who give back to the Dallas community. Ryan Harms, leader of the Back on My Feet (BoMF) Dallas LIFE team, is being recognized for his commitment to this running program for individuals living in homeless shelters. Runners can help Harms celebrate all that is man and support BoMF at The Man Run, a 5K on Wednesday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m. at Reverchon Park.
According to the One Man Dallas program, women volunteer at a rate five times higher than men. One Man Dallas strives to promote volunteerism in men by honoring those who are making a difference. Finalists must be men who are 24-44 years old, live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and work with a local charity. Harms has been volunteering for BoMF for almost a year and was nominated by Kristen Kouk, director of communications and corporate relations for the organization. If Harms is selected as One Man Dallas, BoMF will be a big winner, too.
“One Man Dallas is a series of events and each finalist is required to complete a community service project,” says Harms. “It’s been neat to meet the other guys who are involved in the community, but the only reason I’m motivated to do this is that I could possibly win $2,500 for Back on My Feet,” says Harms.
Harms’s project is The Man Run. While women are welcome to participate, his goal is to have 200 men running along the Katy Trail on Wednesday evening to raise awareness of male volunteerism. All race proceeds will benefit BoMF-Dallas/Fort Worth. The event promises that “nice guys finish first,” and Harms says this is a race concept that he hopes to expand upon in the future.
“We’ve had such a small window to plan and implement this event in order to coincide with One Man Dallas, but this is something that would be great to do every year,” says Harms. “I think there are a lot of neat things you could do with it to appeal to a lot of different group of men in Dallas.”
All of the BoMF residential members also will be running at the event. Although alcohol has become a common sight at post-race parties, none will be served at The Man Run in order to be sensitive to those members and other runners who may be overcoming substance addiction. Harms, who works at Innovation 360– a drug and alcohol addiction treatment provider, says that kind of celebrating isn’t the point of the race anyway.
“Really it’s about what it means to be a man. It’s not about your status or your job. It’s about how you serve others,” says Harms. “Generally that’s also what Back on My Feet and One Man Dallas are about—redefining masculinity.”
This year, Harms also is raising money for BoMF by running twelve half marathons in 2012. His goal is to reach $10,800, or enough to 10 men and women through the four to six month program. Harms, who has been running since middle school, has eight races left to go and says he is feeling good.
“Since college, running has become therapeutic for me. It became a good way to challenge myself in the absence of organized sports. This is probably the most concentrated amount of running I have done. I’ve been focusing on staying fit and doing more medium-distance, five or six mile runs to help preserve my body.”
The winner of One Man Dallas will be announced on May 10. Adults may visit www.onemandallas.com once a day through May 8 to vote for the finalist of their choice.
Visit www.themanrundallas.com for registration and race day information for The Man Run.