Men walk a mile in her shoes

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- There were grimaces, wobbles and falls but more than 90 hard-as-nails men toughed it out through four laps around a track in women's 4-inch stiletto heels after 9 a.m. Saturday.

To raise money for the Lily Pad SANE Center Inc., a shelter for the sexually abused, the men gritted teeth and put on the red shoes to take part in an international walk to help the organization with victims of rape, sexual assault and gender violence.

"This is the first time we have had this event in Southwest Georgia," said Caitlyn Cooper, development officer for Lily Pad. "Our goal was to have 50 men walk and we have surpassed that."

Cooper could not immediately say how much the walk had raised. Consider that in an unscientific sampling of participants, each man spoken to said he had raised more than $1,000.

Then there was the prettiest legs contest at the walk.

The contest brought in at least an additional $350, walk volunteers said.

Andy Martin, dressed in 80s workout gear, a wig and makeup to become "Porsche D'Lite for the event, won the contest. Martin, uh, D'Lite received a trophy topped by the by now all too familiar red 4-inch stiletto.

"I just want to give a shout out to my fans," D'Lite said. "I appreciate all their support."

Also supporting the day's event members of the Dougherty County law enforcement community made the walk around the track.

Dougherty County Police Department Chief Don Cheek also accessorized his red shoes. He had a sign that said, "My other accessories are a badge and a Glock .40 caliber pistol -- so don't laugh."

Other men may have had a little help in choosing their accessories.

Cal Pollock, got applause and a few hoots for his choice of woven stockings.

"I don't know what they are, fishnet?" Pollock said. "No wait, they are lace and have been in my family for years."

Generally, men said their feet weren't made for the punishment the shoes gave them. There were a couple stumbles and falls, but the men laughed off all the soreness and pressed on walking.

"My feet feel like they have been in a car wreck," said Jimmy Simons. "This definitely hurts."

Assuming track-style starting positions before the race and actually running as if to warm up, about a dozen Albany State University students from South Hall dormitory, athletes, seemed to begin to feel the pressure of the heels by the time they were at the third lap.

"We are just doing it with fun in mind," said student Derrion Williams. "Everything we do, we do for fun."

Earning one of three trophies sporting a red, 4-inch, stiletto heel like the ones he wore in the walk, James Tyson crossed the finish line first.

Other red-shoe-topped trophies went to Andy Martin for his pretty legs and to Joe Dent for raising the most money.

At the finish line, McKenzie Cole held up a sign meant for the walkers to see as they rounded the track.

Cole's mother was helped by Lily Pad, she said.

The sign, "Thanks for walking," was her way to say what was in her heart for their participation.