By Stan Friedman
CROMWELL, CT (September 28, 2011) – Three years ago, Jim Hite could barely walk once around the local high school track, but he will celebrate his 50th birthday next month by running 50 miles to raise $50,000 for the Children’s Home of Cromwell.
In 2008, Hite’s physician warned him that his excessive weight was leading to a number of other health concerns. Hite already was pre-diabetic.
Shaken by the physician’s warning, Hite went to the track and walked one lap, then wondered if he could run one more. The former high school athlete barely made it around.
Hite changed his diet and kept running. Since then, he has lost 65 pounds and run several marathons, including the Boston race.
His training regimen often would take him by the children’s home. One day, Hite, who attends Hilltop Covenant Church, thought, “We need to support our children mentally and physically because they are our future; healthy minds and healthy bodies lead to healthy souls.”
That’s when he came up with the idea for the run. The 50 miles – nearly two marathons – is far longer than anything he has attempted.
Hite turns 50 on October 21, and the run will be October 22.
The run also is a campaign he has called, “Jim Hite’s 50 Steps to a Healthier Future.” With the increasing epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart problems and other health concerns of young people and adults, he wanted to do something that shows one person can make a difference.
“I have run during snowstorms, with the wind blowing freshly falling snow into my face, and torrential downpours,” Hite wrote in a blog post earlier this year. “I have seen gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. I have run on sandy beaches with my son, dashing away from the waves, pretending that the water was hot lava, laughing and yelling, ‘run, run before it burns you.’ Running helped me lose weight, reopened the doors to healthy living, and defeated my pre-diabetic condition. Now my running can help children.”
The Facebook page set up for the project helps supporters keep up with his training program. On his website, Hite gives tips on running and living a healthy lifestyle.
Inspired by Hite’s example, two of the home’s staff are starting a running club for teens who are Cromwell residents. “The positive publicity that Jim is generating will help the children’s home become understood as a special place of healing, health and caring for young people,” says Cindy Bartholomew, development consultant.
The children’s home has been an outreach ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church since 1905 and is the parent organization of two major programs – the Children’s Home Residential Treatment Facility (CHOC) and its affiliate, the Children’s Home Community Services. It is a state-of-the-art residential treatment center, special education school, and family treatment center.
Money raised by Hite will help support underfunded or non-funded activities that go beyond what is required by agencies that refer children into their care. These include summer education and worker preparation projects, religious education, summer camps, field trips, cultural events, recreational activities, and social and life skills activities.