SEATTLE - Words of encouragement, helping others is part of the job for Carson Vitale. But, for the M’s Major League Field Coordinator, it’s also a way of life.
This year he’s helping kids and families in need, one mile at a time. Vitale recalls back on December 31, 2020, saying "I said I want to do something more with these miles I’m running. It was raining. It was New Year’s Eve, I’m killing myself. Why not help people while I’m doing it."
Then, on January 1st, Carson posted his goal of running an average of ten miles a day for the next year, or 3,650 miles. He’s donating 50-cents per mile to the United Way of King County to help those who face food insecurity every day.
Vitale says, "I was shocked to see just how much need there is just in our own community. It really made me shift my perspective on what is important. And, I could be doing a whole lot more with my time." Vitale says he runs on his own 99-percent of the time, saying the cause is motivation enough. He adds, "Running through the streets every day, you see a part of the city most people don’t get to experience. I think that attributes a lot to my civic pride."
To meet this lofty goal, throughout the season, Carson is seeing much more than opposing teams’ ballparks when he’s on the road.
He says, "Running through Cleveland and Detroit, the Midwest and Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego, each city has its own uniqueness, and I’ve grown fond of all of them. It’s a really great way to get out into the community."
Now, more than 200 miles ahead of his goal pace, Carson says he’s faced challenges along the way, but none have taken him off course.
He says, "Mentally, just having the ambition to get up each morning to get it done. Not every day you feel good, and physically, my body’s taken a bit of a toll. My ankles are in tough shape right now. I’m not running nearly as fast as I used to."
This year, this goal, this donation, is not about speed and it’s not about distance. Instead, as Carson says, it’s all about people.
"There’s a lot of folks on the street that need help. I’m not exactly sure how to say that. But, running and doing this has made me aware a lot of people, a lot of people need help." He apologizes as he gets emotional, adding, "Yeah, people need help."
Vitale's inspiring others to help. The Mariners say general manager Jerry Dipoto and Mariners Hall of Famer Dan Wilson have both vowed to match Carson's donation to United Way.
He’s set up a fundraising site too. You can find it here.