Bellin Run Partners with Youth-led Local Charity

Shoe Closet looks to expand, serve runners from all four Green Bay high schools

The 2019 Bellin Run Corporate Challenge program will be partnering with a youth-led local charity dedicated to ensuring Green Bay high school athletes who run Cross Country can afford an appropriate pair of shoes.

Joel Kiernan, a senior at Green Bay East High School, started the Green Bay Shoe Closet after learning one of his Cross Country teammates was suffering chronic injury due to his family’s inability to afford a decent pair of shoes. He soon learned that with a school poverty rate that tops 60 percent, this teammate was far from alone. Joel took action, and through a series of grants, the help of an anonymous donor and a partnership with a local shoe company, the Green Bay Shoe Closet funded running shoes for all students in need on the East High School 2018 Cross Country team.

Now Joel and his brother Peter, an East freshman, are running the program that has provided nearly three dozen pairs of shoes to East athletes in need — and they’re setting their sights on going Green Bay School District-wide.

“These incredible young men have stepped up to fill a critical need within their school community, and we are eager to help them expand the Green Bay Shoe Closet to include all four Green Bay high schools,” said Bellin Run Executive Race Director Randy Van Straten. “Working with our Corporate Challenge teams, our goal is to donate more than 200 pairs of shoes to this wonderful cause. We know how important activities like Cross Country can be to the physical, intellectual and academic development of high school students, and we are so pleased Joel and Peter have stepped up to ensure finances don’t prevent their classmates from realizing these benefits.”

The Kiernan brothers will present their Green Bay Shoe Closet plan during the Bellin Run’s Corporate Challenge kickoff Wednesday morning, Feb. 20 at the Green Bay Distillery. The gathering provides information, inspiration and updates for Corporate Challenge captains from throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The Bellin Run’s largest program, the Corporate Challenge challenges local companies in a fun and friendly participation- and timing-based competition. In 2018, the Corporate Challenge had teams from 258 area companies with nearly 6,400 total participants.

The 43rd annual Bellin Run will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 8. For more information or to register, visit Follow the Bellin Run on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more information on the Green Bay Shoe Closet, visit