Inmates at Toledo Correctional Institution had the option to run or to walk the 5K event for the Komen Foundation.
THE BLADE/LORI KING
After each lap, Steve James lifted his sock-covered fist into the air.
“For the women — to let them know I support them,” said the 34-year-old inmate at Toledo Correctional Institution.
James was one of 38 inmates to either run 3.1 miles or walk one mile Friday to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation of Northwest Ohio.
All told, the inmates, including 40 who donated money but did not participate in the race, raised $105 for the breast cancer awareness organization.
PHOTO GALLERY: Toledo inmates run for Komen Foundation
The inmates — 24 ran and 14 walked — were mostly dressed in sweatshirts and sweatpants as they took to the outdoor track Friday.
The cost to participate in the race, the second such event the prison has put on, was $5 and offset the cost of race equipment and went toward the final donation.
“Anything to give back, I want to be a part of,” said James, who is serving a 16-year sentence for aggravated robbery.
That, for him, is his way of giving back to his victims.
“We don’t know the pain we inflicted on our victims,” he said. “If they’re healed, I don’t want to reopen that wound” by reaching out to them to apologize.
Other inmates wanted to run so they could honor the memories of family members who have died of breast cancer.
Several of the runners wore white T-shirts, drawn on with markers to memorialize lost loved ones.
Paul Seegert, 44, of Whitehouse is serving a 44-year sentence for aggravated robbery and burglary.
He ran the race Friday to honor the wife of a prison employee who has cancer and also for his father, who died of lung cancer in 1983.
When the race kicked off at 9 a.m., inmates with homemade signs stood near the finish line — a mile was five laps — and cheered on runners and walkers as they passed.
Another inmate, with popular tunes from Katy Perry, Lorde, and Miley Cyrus playing in the background, danced to inspire the participants. Winning the 5K race was Jeremy Belew.