Skip links

    Training for Tokyo

    Day 311

    Running for 2020

    We met Paul at the Phillips Avenue Diner in downtown Sioux Falls, SD. We were in town for the ACE Awards. The South Sudan Arts, Culture, & Entertainment (ACE) Awards is an annual event that aims to recognize those in the South Sudanese for their achievements in various fields.

    Paul is a member of the South Sudanese diaspora. He and his family spent time in Pinyudo Refugee Camp in Ethiopia when he was very young, and then they were resettled in Iowa in 2001. Paul fell in love with running when he was in 7th grade. We asked Paul why he likes running. After a difficult childhood living in a refugee camp, resettling to several different areas of the United States, and finding his way, “Running is like my getaway. It’s a different kind of community.”

    Paul is an extremely motivated and determined person. In high school, Paul’s coach believed in him and his ability to go far through running. He ran DII throughout college at Augustana University where he was a two-time All American and set multiple records. When he graduated in 2015, he knew he wanted to continue running. He got it in his head that he could someday qualify for the Olympic Games. This belief guides him and motivates him each and every day.

    And so Paul began training for the Olympic Games.

    In speaking with Paul, we found out just how much running he does per day, per week and per month. It’s an incredible amount – over 100 miles per week! We also realized how challenging it is to keep up with the training in the winter time. He told us that based on the amount of running he does, he needs to get new shoes about once per month. He also was in need of winter running clothing.

    We wanted Paul to have the tools he needs to achieve his dreams – shoes! He is a big Nike fan, and so we visited our local running shop Mill City Running to shop around for him. We found two pairs of shoes that would fit his training schedule – one pair of every day, long distance running shoes and another lighter-weight pair for cross-training. We also found a pair of tights and a few tops to keep warm throughout the winter.

    When we gave Paul his new running gear, he was ecstatic! He kept a big smile on his face the entire time and it grew with each small gift he opened.

    [easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=1 counter_pos="hidden" total_counter_pos="leftbig" style="button" point_type="simple" url="" text="Running for 2020"]

    Changemakers 365

    by Alight


    The world’s tough problems can seem insurmountable. So at Alight, while we tackle those big problems we also do what’s doable. Right then. And that’s what Changemakers 365 is all about. Learn more!


    Changemakers 365 members give either $30 per month or a one-time gift of $365 (it’s free for anyone who has ever lived in a refugee camp). Join us!

    Let's Connect!