Like many others, Justin Corwin has his eyes set on the 2023 Austin Marathon, which is set to take place February 19th. While he’s run several races in his life, next month’s will present a unique angle; he’s raising funds to provide Balega socks to those experiencing homelessness in Austin.
Justin approached Fleet Feet Austin in early December to share his plans and determine how he could broaden his reach, all in the name of charity. We took some time to connect with Justin and learn more about his background, running goals and motivation for the effort.
Fleet Feet Austin: Justin, thanks for taking the time to share your story. For those who have yet to share some friendly miles with you, how would you describe your connection to the Austin running community?
JC: Thanks Ari, appreciate the time as well! I would say I am still a newbie within the Austin running scene. I have participated in a few of the Fleet Feet Friday morning runs when I can but have been blown away by the amount of runners we have here. I have been in Austin my whole life but just started running the past couple months and, man, those Saturday mornings around town lake are a sight to be seen. Everyone from walkers to people hitting 5min miles are out there!
Fleet Feet Austin: What got you hooked into this year’s Austin Marathon and what was your motivation for fundraising for others?
JC: So, it is kind of a funny story. I have been in sports my whole life, played NCAA lacrosse up the street at Southwestern University and then when I graduated, I competed locally for a few years in CrossFit. Then the pandemic hit, gyms shut down, and as I am sure many others did – I stopped working out. Finally, I think it was in July last year, I was watching a Nick Bare YouTube video on his journey to break 2:50 at the marathon and it amped me up to go for a run. Now, it was about 100 degrees out, only shoes I had were some Nike Free Runs I got in 2013, and I hadn’t run more than a mile in about two years. So, to say those three miles were brutal is an understatement, but I loved it. And as any sane person would do, I signed up for a full marathon before my shoes even came off. As far as fundraising for others, I was on one of my first long runs of the marathon build and a mile into my 10 mile run my headphones died. So, I had a lot of time to run with my thoughts through downtown Austin. It was early in the morning so not many people were out. That is when I came up with the idea of We Run 4 Someone Else. As runners, we have the privilege to go out and knock down some miles while there are a lot of people who don’t get to whether it be because of physical health, mental health, a handicap, etc. so I wanted to do something that was bigger than myself. One of the biggest issues our city faces is homelessness, right now there is about 3,000 people who are without shelter. So, in line with running the marathon, I decided to help by raising money to donate socks to a local nonprofit, Caritas of Austin, helping to end homelessness.
Fleet Feet Austin: How has your training been going? Any lessons that you’ve learned along the way that you’d relay to others?
JC: Training has had its ups and downs. There are a lot of mornings where the last thing I want to do is go run 10 miles in the cold, but those are probably my favorite runs. David Goggins calls them cookie jar runs because when the marathon gets hard, I can look back on those runs and know I have pushed through. His analogy translates well to life. The hard days will pay off in the future and will make you better in the long run. You just have to be present in the moment, focus on that one mile and then the next and the next. If you start thinking about mile 26 when you are on mile 1, it is going to be a long race.
Fleet Feet Austin: We’re thrilled to partner with you and Balega socks for this philanthropic effort. Tell us more about your chosen beneficiary, Caritas of Austin.
JC: I am thrilled to be working with Fleet Feet and Balega! I think our missions align really well. My goals is to raise enough money to donate 500 pairs of socks to a local organization helping people transition out of homelessness and into permanent housing.
Fleet Feet Austin: What kind of emotions do you believe you’ll experience once you cross the finish line, knowing you’ll be helping others in the process?
JC: I have a feeling it will be pretty emotional at the finish line, my plan is to try to take all emotion out of the actual race but all bets are off once I cross that finish line.
Fleet Feet Austin: What else is Justin Corwin looking forward to in 2023 and beyond?
JC: That is a great question. I have put a pretty audacious goal for myself for this first marathon – to go sub 3. Depending on how that pans out will somewhat drive what I decide to do next. I want to qualify for Boston this year and I am planning to run a 50k in the fall. I think this is just the beginning of my endurance racing journey, but I definitely see more marathons in my future!
If you'd like to learn more about Justin's journey and donate to the cause, check out the following fundrasing link.