Back on My Feet helps people gain independence through a running program. Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman

Three years ago, I spent a few months tagging along with and writing about the first group of runners in the new Austin branch of Back on My Feet, a non-profit program that helps people overcome homelessness through running.

Participants have to show up for early-morning runs in order to get training and support as they try to break free from homelessness. I focused on Lauren Reliford, who started running through the program, landed a job cleaning hotel rooms, and finally moved out of a shelter into her own apartment.

Lauren Reliford participates in an early morning run with Back on My Feet. Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman

Since then, the program has helped 215 people in Austin. Of those, more than half have moved into independent housing and a quarter have started stable jobs.

This year Back on My Feet celebrates its third year in Austin, with a fund-raising bash at the JW Marriott, 110 East Second Street, starting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 12.

The party includes a cocktail reception, hors d’oeuvres and silent and live auctions, as well as dinner. John Conley, race director of the Austin Marathon, will be honored for his contribution to Austin’s running community. (This year will mark his last as race director of the race.) A Back on My Feet member will also describe how his life has changed because of Back on My Feet.

What to wear? Cocktail attire with sneakers, of course, according to event organizers.

Tickets are $175 per person or $4,000 for a table. Proceeds will help Back on My Feet sustain and expand its programming. For more information go here.