In the summer of 1988, Carol Wolff, from the St. Gerard House in St. Augustine, submitted a fund request form to the Knights of Columbus. Mike Sapp, the “Crusade for Life” chairman for Homestead Council 4998 of the Knights of Columbus, received the letter.
In February 1989 he arranged the first Run For Life to raise funds for her. That year he ran 346 miles over twelve days from Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Miami to the Shrine of Our Lady de la Leche in St. Augustine. That Run raised $12,000 for St. Gerard’s House, a 16 bed residence for pregnant mothers in St. Augustine.
24 years and still running...
In 1990 the Run started at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Homestead, about 30 miles south of Saint Mary’s Cathedral. For the first three years, Mike Sapp ran the entire 352 miles as a one-man effort, running an average of 40 miles per day. Now a group of runners comes together to run as a team. They train individually, but become a close group as they run to save lives. The support crew of 2 or 3 drivers, along with the runners, must take vacation time from their jobs, making this trip a sacrifice for themselves and their families, in an effort to bring awareness to the needs of pregnant women and the homes that support them.
In 2007 a parallel run began on the west coast of Florida. Four years later they have grown from about 50 miles to almost 200 miles from Marco Island to Zephyrills.
We are very proud that the Run has a third team in the Florida Panhandle. They will be starting in Pensacola and running to Tallahassee this year.
All three teams will be meeting in St. Augustine for the culmination of the East Coast Run.
Who we support
The Run For Life supports a statewide effort called the Knights of Columbus (K of C) Florida State Charities. The K of C Charities is a group of more than 200 K of C councils working together to support as many as 30 to 40 maternity homes statewide. Their goal is to contribute more than $100,000 to these homes each year.
The maternity homes that the Run For Life are raising money for are non-profit organizations that provide shelter and on-site emergency housing for mostly unmarried, pregnant women and those who have a crisis situation at home. The homes offer educational programs, drug abuse counseling and various other programs to help women.
Over the past 23 years, the Run For Life has raised well over $120,000.
The grant recipients from 2011 were:
The Collier County Crisis Pregnancy Center in Naples
Mary’s Shelter in Maitland
Pregnancy Care Center in Ft. Pierce
Pregnancy Outrech Ministies in Cocoa Beach
Alpha Center in Pensacola
Other places that money from the Run has gone to in the past include:
Favor House of Northwest Florida in Milton
Crestview Pregnancy Center in Crestview
Open Door Women’s Clinic in Tallahassee
A Women’s Resource Center in Palatka
St. Maria Goretti Maternity Center in Ocala
New Dawn Women’s Clinic in Oviedo
Central Florida Pregnancy Center in Deltona
The Pregnancy & Family Life Center in Inverness
Mary Martha House in Ruskin
Pregnancy & Parenting Center in Tampa
Our Mother’s Home of Southwest Florida in Ft. Myers
Sunlight Homes in Naples
St. Augustine Monastery
First Choice Women's Center in Homestead
Women’s Pregnancy Center in Homestead