Kenyan runner’s shoes stolen but wins big in last minute donation

Alabama:Mobile’s Azalea Trail Run is well known in the elite community, because it is one of the fastest 10K courses in the world. The 38th annual race on Saturday saw 15 elite runners cross the finish line, including one who had never raced in America before.

“We don’t have the money of a big run like the Boston Marathon, but hospitality is something that international athletes really appreciate,” Jim Mather who one of the hosts to the elite runners said.

Mather said proof of Mobile’s hospitality was visible when Kenyan Edward Tabut had his running shoes stolen from the front porch of the home he was staying at in Mobile on Wednesday evening.

At the elite runner meet and greet Thursday evening at the University of South Alabama’s intramural fields, Mather explained he noticed Tabut wearing a pair of well-worn running shoes. Turns out those were the only pair of shoes Tabut had left with him, because his racing shoes had been stolen from the porch of the home he was staying at in Mobile.

In his own way, Mather said Tabut asked if he could help him get a pair of shoes.

“I was trying to think who could I connect him with in the community to help him,” Mather said.

Mather reached out to Aaron Freesmeier with Run-N-Tri. Freesmeier said he got the message Thursday evening and ran back up to the store to see what options they had available in a size 11 and a half.

Tabut met up with Freesmeier at the Azalea Trail Run Expo on Friday afternoon, and a pair of Saucony Kinvaras was the right fit.

“I was thankful I could give back to someone over here trying to make money for his family,” Freesmeier said.

Freesmeier said what really made him feel good is when Mather told him Tabut placed fifth this year which earned Tabut some prize money.

“In a day of reduced sponsors, I think it says well of the running community that we can help each other,” Mather said.

This was Tabut’s third Azalea Trail Run. Last year, he finished tenth.

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