For a few guys, it wasn't enough to just Walk a Mile in Her Shoes — even with those shoes being high-heel pumps. No, the first three to cross the finish line of the downtown Modesto benefit for Haven Women's Center of Stanislaus actually ran the course Saturday morning.
In first place, just yards ahead of Kevin and Justice Lantz, was 12-year-old Keenan Tumbarello of Salida. It was his second time taking part in the walk, the first being in 2016, when he walked the course.
So why did he decide to run this year? "Because I wanted to get first place."
And how did it feel? "It hurt."
Kevin Lantz said it was "easier than walking," though. He compared the wobbliness of heels to that of riding a bike. "You go too slow, you fall over."
The Lantzes, of Modesto, were first-timers for Walk a Mile. They participated to honor Kevin Lantz's sister, Manteca resident Tevanie Lantz, who was fatally stabbed by her husband in 2009. "We love her and we're doing it for her," Kevin Lantz said.
On Friday, at least 320 men, women and children had registered for the fifth annual walk, which began and ended at the Gallo Center for the Arts. Turnout Saturday was estimated at more than 100 people above last year
The walk is a fun way to rally support in the community and raise awareness about the causes, effects and remedies for sexual assault and domestic violence.
One of the things the Me Too movement "has really lifted up is the prevalence of sexual abuse by people in power," Haven Executive Director May Rico said after the walk. It also has shined a light on the people around them who are complacent about what they know these powerful people are doing and don't step in to intervene, she said.
In front of the restaurant Greens on 10th, where the afterparty for the walk was held, was a sign bearing a quote from one of those powerful men: "When you're a star, they let you do anything."
He's not named, but in 2005, Donald Trump was recorded saying, "I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab 'em by the p----."
Haven board member Jennifer Spankowski said Saturday morning that nearly $53,000 had been raised by the walk, and online donations will be accepted on the event website, www.havenwalkamile.org, a few more weeks. Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is Haven's biggest fundraiser of the year and is vital to supporting services that grants don't cover, Rico said.