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North Carolina

UNC runner's steps benefit Jamaican charity

Posted May 20, 2013

Children in Jamaica are the unexpected beneficiaries with every stride of University of North Carolina runner O'Neal Wanliss.

Wanliss, a UNC sophomore and All-American, is ranked among the nation's best in the 800 meters.

His charitable bent began when he was in high school. Wanliss, who had friends and family in Jamaica, had the idea to donate his used track and soccer gear to kids on the island who had none.

O'Neal Wanliss Medlin: UNC runner has charitable connections

He explained, "When I was playing soccer, I would get a new pair of cleats and the old ones would just sit there. So I thought, why not just package them up and send them? Then when I started running track, I was going through track spikes even quicker than soccer cleats."

Wanliss was able to build a full-fledged charitable organization, called S.P.I.K.E.S. 4 TYKES. The story gained traction when Yahoo! picked it up online, and the gear started pouring in.

"I'm expecting 20, you know, 30 pairs, and that would be great," Wanliss said. "Then I started getting them from all across the nation, from Canada, from Mexico."

Wanliss tried to keep track of how his donations are used. "There was a meet in Jamaica, and the guy who won the 800 was a kid I donated spikes to. So it's great," he said.

Wanliss is making his impact in Jamaica and on North Carolina's track team, where he will compete this week in the East Preliminary round of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships this weekend in Greensboro.

6 Comments

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  • Toddler10-21 May 21, 12:08 p.m.

    I was thinking the same about the HATE comment. Great story.

  • 75Tarheel May 21, 9:30 a.m.

    Quite a story for the young Wanliss. Good luck to him and the charity Spikes.

    GO HEELS!!

  • kornfan2448 May 21, 8:45 a.m.

    Nice story. Please print more of these.

    — Posted by heelsforever

    I second that notion.

  • heelsforever May 20, 10:58 p.m.

    Nice story. Please print more of these.

  • carrboroyouth May 20, 10:08 p.m.

    Amazing idea!

  • Jewelry-EricLeak May 20, 9:26 p.m.

    Where is the hateful rhetoric regarding this kid?

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