Since its opening in May 2009, Rockwall Running Center, or RRC, has donated more than $45,000 to charities and eight schools in Rockwall, Texas. The center is owned by Coach Barrett who has raced for 29 consecutive years in 43 states and 6 countries. He’s trained more than 30 All-American athletes, and over the past eight years, helped the Rockwall community achieve what it thought were unachievable goals.
One of those community members is Jim, who, along with several RRC members, helped Coach Barrett publish a book titled “RRC Baker’s Dozen (plus two) take on the NYC Marathon.” Jim wrote: “I’m a runner and I’m so glad that God used runners like Lee Chatham, Coach Barrett, Sonya Johnson and others to encourage me to join them on these group runs. It’s helped me learn firsthand about runners who go the extra mile to train…. But it has also allowed me the opportunity to see a group united in their care and concern for their fellow runners…”
Coach Barrett’s training began in the 1980s when he was in college helping high school athletes, and by 1996, his work snowballed into a training club, which eventually expanded into a business. Coach Barrett, originally from North Carolina, participated there in organizing several community group runs. He moved to Rockwall eight years ago for work and started the first of now 10 daily running groups. Coach Barrett said he wanted to bring runners to one place and gain identity with the community--or as he calls it “action with passion.” He began a separate running team to run marathons nationwide, which expanded from three to 300 members.
Coach Barrett is also the Southwestern region’s association member of the Masters, Men’s, and Women’s Long Distance Running Committees of the USA Track & Field, the national governing body for track and field in the U.S. He said RRC offers training to get people off their couches and running a 5K, or 3.1 miles.
His Accion Texas Inc. loan will help his business be competitive, he said, as he’ll use it to purchase nutritional snacks, first aid items and name-brand running shoes to sell at the center’s store. Other major businesses already have a large inventory to offer their clients. As a small entity, Coach Barrett could not compete; the loan gave him an opportunity to build a better inventory for his clients, he said. The loan helped sustain eight RRC jobs, as well. Without Accion’s help, Coach Barrett said, “We would have to close shop.”
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.