For those missing the AJC Peachtree Road Race, Leadership Sandy Springs has joined with EcoSneakers to create a step challenge and shoe drive from June 21-July 4.

Though it may not have the same excitement as the famous Atlanta race, Leadership Sandy Springs hopes it can be a fun — and socially distant — alternative to the July 4 tradition.

“We were trying to find something that would be meaningful that hadn’t been done already,” said Carol Ciepluch, LSS’s director of community engagement. “Since the Peachtree Road Race was postponed, it seemed like a virtual walk would be both safe and fun for people.”

Adults can register for $25 anytime before July 3 to complete a step challenge where their name will be entered onto a leaderboard that will track and record their steps. Ciepluch said once they register, the site can connect to any fitness app to have the participants’ walking recorded. Right now there’s no step goal, but Ciepluch said people can challenge each other in the comments of the leaderboard or register as a team.

Children can participate for free.

In addition to the step challenge, participants can drop off used sneakers in bins throughout the city, which will be cleaned by EcoSneakers and donated to the homeless community. Shoes that are too badly worn will be repurposed into athletic surfaces.

Ciepluch said LSS hopes to get 1,000 shoes donated in total.

EcoSneakers is a company that partners with other organizations to create shoe drives, which the owner started while training for the Peachtree Road Race, according to its website.

LSS and EcoSneakers requests residents tie the laces or rubberband shoes together when they drop them off. EcoSneakers will pick the shoes up from marked bins around the city during the two-week period leading up to July 4.

There will be 15 drop-box bins around the city, and Ciepluch said LSS plans to put them in various central locations, such as the LSS office on Hilderbrand Drive, fire stations and City Hall. The organization will announce all locations before the drive starts.

LSS is a professional organization that provides leadership development and collaborative civic engagement to the central Perimeter area. Ciepluch said alumni of different classes of the program are already talking about challenging each other through this fundraiser.

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