Cross Country and Track Athlete Takes Steps Toward Global Change

Cross country and track athlete Sofia Cuevas Dorador ’23During some spring cleaning, cross country and track athlete Sofia Cuevas Dorador ’23 found herself staring at a closet filled with old running shoes. Instead of throwing them away, which felt wasteful, Cuevas Dorador wanted to see if these old shoes could get a little further use. With a few clicks on Google, she came across One World Running—an organization that sends donated shoes, athletic clothes, and other supplies to places of need around the world. 

“Aside from donating the shoes, they also organize yearly races...to create a running community and environment,” Cuevas Dorador said. “I really liked how they wanted to make a difference and an impact, rather than just hand over some shoes.” 

After track practice on MLK Jr. Day in January 2021, her coach, Marty Kinsey, told the team how proud he was that they often took to social media to advocate for issues that they care about. He also urged them to take direct action in their own community. Cuevas Dorador decided that she wanted to make an even bigger donation to One World Running. She spread the word to her track teammates, who would surely have shoes to donate. Kinsey himself posted to a Moraga community forum online and set up a donation box in his neighborhood, which Cuevas Dorador said was quite successful. She also set up her own shoe drive––advertising the event by posting flyers around downtown Walnut Creek. 

“When the big day of the shoe drive came around, I made cupcakes and set up for three hours at Civic Park. This day alone brought in over 50 pairs of shoes,” Cuevas Dorador said. 

After the shoe drive and a few weeks more of collecting donations, Cuevas Dorador found herself with 175 pairs to donate. She said she enjoyed “cleaning each pair of shoes before sending them out and thinking of all the miles the shoes had seen, and the difference they were going to make.”

“As a runner, I really like the idea of providing runners in need with the means to do what they love.”

She was also inspired by how eager the Saint Mary’s and surrounding community was to help. She noted that a Walnut Creek running store, Athletic Outpost, saw her flyer and donated 10 brand-new pairs of shoes on the day of the drive. “I think as a community that loves running, we can understand the way that a good pair of shoes would make a difference in our lives if we didn’t have access to them on our own,” Cuevas Dorador said. 

As an incoming junior double majoring in Politics and Economics with a concentration in Sustainability, Cuevas Dorador is highly invested in organizing for change. Looking ahead, she hopes to make this a tradition for the cross country and track team: “This is something that I hope we can do as a team each spring and hopefully something that will live on even after I graduate.”