Steve Sousek will begin his 10-day, 520 mile run on Saturday to raise money for victims of domestic violence and women experiencing crisis pregnancies.
Lincoln man to run across Nebraska for women in crisis and unborn children
Steve Sousek, a 54-year-old Lincoln resident, will begin his run across Nebraska to raise money for women in crisis on Saturday, June 20.
The program Sousek has set up for the run is called RUNBORN, with the slogan “Running for Their Lives.” The money raised from this event will be split between St. Gianna Women’s Homes and Women’s Care Center of Lincoln.
Sousek’s run will begin at the Colorado border west of Grant, cross through the southern side of the state and will end at the Iowa border at Plattsmouth.
The run, which will take place over 10 days, will total approximately 520 miles. Sousek will run two marathons each day, and hopes to raise $100 for each mile.
His ultimate goal for fundraising is to raise $52,000. Sousek hoped to reach his first fundraising milestone of $5,200 by Saturday when his run is set to start. He began accepting donations about two weeks ago and met that first milestone within just seven days.
Sousek has even received an offer to match $5,000 worth in donations. Including this matched money, he estimates he has raised around $15,000.
“I wasn’t expecting anything like that,” Sousek said. “I mean, that’s almost a third of the money already, and I haven’t even started running, so I hope it continues!”
Saturday, Sousek will pass through Venango and Brandon on Highway 23 before reaching Grant.
He will enter Grant on the highway and come north on Central Avenue before turning west at 7th Street and continuing for two blocks.
He will then run one block north to pass by Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church before heading east to Logan Street. From there he will run south back to the highway.
Sousek will also pass through Madrid on Highway 23 before reaching Elsie where he will again depart from the highway.
He will go north on Perkins Avenue to Madrid Street, then west to Chicago Avenue and north to Grant Street in order to pass Ressurrection of the Lord Catholic Church before exiting town again.
Sousek will bring his bike along as a last resort, in case his feet need a break for a few miles or it rains heavily enough that his shoes would get soaked.
He will also have a support vehicle accompanying him along the way. They won’t be driving next to Sousek, but they will meet up for water, snacks and other necessities.
His passion for running began in 2010 after a friend invited him to participate in the Lincoln Half Marathon. He didn’t train for the event as it was sort of a last minute activity for him. After, in Sousek’s words, doing miserably, he took a break from running only to find himself determined to show he can do better.
After a few years of avid running, he started realizing he wanted to do something with his running to raise money for some purpose. He didn’t pursue that thought seriously until 2017 when he found himself training near St. Gianna Women’s Homes.
He then came up with “Running for Their Lives” as a way to describe what exactly he was running for: women fleeing domestic abuse or experiencing crisis pregnancies.
“These women are running for their lives to escape domestic abuse and violence,” Sousek said. “I know the priest that was responsible for helping out at the home and he told me that some of the women there would be living out on the street if they didn’t have a shelter their to live in with their kids.”
Sousek, who has been a life-long advocate of causes that value the sanctity of life and is a past victim of a physically abusive relationship, says he feels a connection with women fleeing domestic violence, and he could relate to their fear and need for support.
St. Gianna’s is an apostolate of Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska (CSS) that provides victims of domestic violence and other forms of abuse with a range of services, including a fully furnished 24-unit long-term housing complex.
Additionally, CSS provides education, employment and counseling services for families left homeless because of domestic violence.
St. Gianna’s gives women a safe, secure place to stay and begin rebuilding their lives.
Women’s Care Center (WCC) was founded in 1984 by Dr. Janet Smith and has since become the largest, most successful pregnancy resource center in America. WCC offers free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, sulf-sufficiency training, education, counseling and support after birth for as long as is needed for each individual woman.
“I feel like God has been preparing me for several years and is calling me to this challenge and will help me complete it,” Sousek said.
“These women and children face much bigger challenges than the challenge before me to accomplish this run – their actual life is being challenged and threatened. I am running for their lives believing that my effort and physical sacrifice will inspire others to help support them with a financial donation, or sacrifice if you will, through RUNBORN.”
He wants those experiencing difficult situations to know they are not alone, and there are resources out there to help.
“I know it’s a scary time and you’re not sure what to do,” Sousek said. “But just know there are people who want to help and they are caring, loving people, if you have the courage to reach out to them. That’s really what it takes. It’s just that first step of courage.”
More information about Sousek’s RUNBORN journey can be found on his website, runborn.org.