By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A half-dozen runners will go from homeless to running their first half-marathon when they hit the track during the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon this weekend.

“We use running to help those that are experiencing homelessness to move their lives forward,” says Scott Crosin, executive director of Back on My Feet Philadelphia. The non-profit partners with six local shelters to get the residents running with volunteers — three days a week — at 5:30 in the morning.

“The ultimate goal always is to help them to achieve self sufficiency by way of employment,” Crosin says, “as well as independent housing.”

“I’m going to use the running to encourage me to go out and get employment, and get a job, get housing,” says 42-year-old Reginald Allen.

Allen is in transitional housing at a shelter, but he’s spent the past six months training with Back on My Feet — and now he’s running his first half-marathon this weekend, the first step to moving his life forward.

“I should be able to get my associate degree in a year and a half,” he says, “and I’m going to take that and become a drug and alcohol counselor.”

Allen says he thinks about the things he’s been through in his life when he runs, and things that he never wants to go back to.

Back on My Feet has six runners in the half-marathon and four running the full marathon on Sunday.

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