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Racers Don High Heels For A Good Cause

Male high-heeled racers break from the starting line

 Apple Ridge Farm, which provides outdoor recreational opportunities for underprivileged children, held its first “High Heel Charity Race” at the City Market building last Saturday. The race – run by women and men in high-heeled shoes – raised funds for Apple Ridge Farm’s summer camp programs.

 Non-participants could eat or drink at The Quarter Restaurant on Salem Avenue on that same day, with a portion of the proceeds going to Apple Ridge Farm in Copper Hill. The non-profit’s headquarters are actually in downtown Roanoke at Jefferson Center.

 Sam Winkler had never run in high heels before he lined up outside the Taubman Museum of Art, where the short sprint down Salem Avenue started. “I’ve walked in them about twice,” said Winkler, sporting ruby-red heels and red painted toe nails to match.

 “I think it’s for a good cause, any time you can help kids out like this,” said Winkler, who before the race was already standing on one foot, learning what women have long known – high heels can hurt. “I probably have the highest heels out there,” laughed Winkler, who was leery of turning an ankle.

 One male participant (men and women ran separately) did take a tumble as he ran past the City Market building on his way to the finish line. Some had wrapped the high heels to their legs in heavy tape, hoping to avoid sprains or wobbles as they ran down the street.

 Peter Lewis, executive director for Apple Ridge Farm, noted that the children at this year’s summer camp were able to attend thanks to corporate sponsorship and donations like those made for the High Heel Charity Race. SunTrust bank was a principal supporter of the event. “Our mission is to help less fortunate children grow, to acquaint them with the importance of getting an education to do well in life,” said Lewis. The summer camps are now in their 24th year.

 The event was modeled after a high heel run they did on “Live with Regis & Kelly,” in the streets of Manhattan. “We’re hoping it can became an annual event,” said Lewis, who was walking the racecourse himself in heels, dressed like a giant red apple. “I’m going to do this thing to support the troops.”

– By Gene Marrano

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