Helping Others

WEAVE goes big with huge heel, world record attempt to promote fundraiser

Members of WEAVE and SMUD set up a giant shoe Wednesday.
Members of WEAVE and SMUD set up a giant shoe Wednesday. bnguyen@sacbee.com

Sacramento’s “Walk a Mile” event is going big in 2015.

Not only is the WEAVE-sponsored Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event attempting to set a Guinness world record with 1,000 men walking the Capitol Mall in high heels during the May 3 event, but organizers on Wednesday also unveiled a giant red shoe, measuring 9 feet tall and 10 feet long. The current world record for men walking a mile in high heels is 967 and was set in 2010 in Fort Wayne, Ind.

WEAVE plans to generate additional buzz for the already growing event by having the movable public art travel to several Sacramento events leading up to the walk, said Julie Bornhoeft, a spokeswoman for WEAVE, short for Women Escaping a Violent Environment.

Stop One on the tour was to be Sleep Train Arena for a Kings game. Technical considerations scuttled that appearance, making SMUD’s glass-lined customer service center the debut location.

SMUD is happy to be a significant partner in the event, said Arlen Orchard, SMUD CEO and general manager.

“We currently have more than 100 men raising money and getting ready to stumble down the road for this great cause,” Orchard said in an emailed statement.

But the first order of business Wednesday was getting the giant shoe to the center. Thankfully for the team, the shoe breaks down into three pieces and fits relatively easily into two pickups.

The next step was putting it back together. The black heel – standing as tall as many men – is secured to the shoe’s upper portion with 4-inch lag bolts “about the size of a standard heel,” explained Bryan Merica, the WEAVE board member who conceived the idea. The shoe’s fiberglass upper body is covered by red faux leather.

The curious project going on in the customer service center lobby quickly stopped utility employees and customers alike.

“That’s one giant high-heel,” observed stationary engineer Troy Hearne, before continuing on his way.

After a minor delay in search of a super-size Phillips screwdriver needed to secure the shoe to a base plate, the shoe was assembled in quick order.

“The plan is for it to be a movable conversation piece, not only about the event but also about the reason behind the event,” Bornhoeft said of the shoe.

In its fifth year, the event is expected to raise $250,000 to support WEAVE’s work in helping women escape domestic violence.

Fueled by several high-profile cases involving NFL players, domestic violence has been a subject of increased media attention lately.

However, the number of reported cases is on the decline locally. Between 2004 and 2013, Sacramento County has averaged 6,101 calls for assistance. The reported incidents peaked in 2007 with 9,365 calls for assistance. Between 2007 and 2013, the number of reported incidents dropped 40 percent to 5,545, according to state Department of Justice data.

Visitors are welcome to take pictures of the shoe, but are not allowed to climb inside the size 114 heel.

With just under two weeks before the event, it remains to be seen whether organizers can hit the goal of 1,000 men walking.

Last year, 658 men registered for the event, with 575 walking, Bornhoeft said. Through Tuesday, 650 men are registered to walk May 3.

Call The Bee’s Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269. Follow him on Twitter @NewsFletch.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

Registration: www.weaveinc.org.

Date: Sunday, May 3. Festival opens at 10 am and walk starts at 11 am.

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