Chalk up two Paul Carrozza sightings in one week for me – the first, a sit-down meeting to discuss the new Power Your Purpose 5K; the second, a sweaty, unplanned fly-by during my 8-mile run through Northwest Hills early Monday.
Carrozza, you may remember, owned and operated RunTex, a gear shop he spent 25 years building into the hub of the Austin running scene. The flagship store was evicted from its longtime home on Riverside Drive in 2013.
Since then, Carrozza has focused on what he does best – coaching. He currently heads the cross country, track and field, and swimming and diving programs at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, and leads the Born to Run training programs at Ready to Run, 3616 Far West Boulevard, where he recently launched a program specifically for runners over 50. (As a side note, his son Crayton just broke the 4-minute mile at the University of Texas.)
Carrozza is now teaming with the Whole Planet Foundation, which provides “micro loans” to help people start or expand their own businesses, to stage a new 5K run.
The Power Your Purpose 5K and Soiree is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 14 at Camp Mabry, 2210 W. 35thStreet. After the race, participants will get international food and beer from countries where the foundation has made its loans.
This year’s event is limited to 500 people in Austin, but look for it to spread around the United States – and beyond – in coming years. Early registration is $40. To sign up go to https://www.classy.org/event/power-your-purpose-5k/e235441.
Proceeds will help fund institutions that make the loans, which average $175 for first-timers in countries including Bangladesh, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Cambodia. The loans have provided a boost to help a woman in Haiti set up a small store in her front yard to sell pastries instead of carrying them in a basket on her head. They also helped a woman built a small fruit stand.
The foundation made $5.8 million in disbursements in 2018. Nearly 90 percent of loan recipients are women; the repayment rate has held steady at 96 percent.
“We’re all about empowerment,” says Jason Martinez, fundraising program manager for Whole Planet Foundation.