Former President Jimmy Carter Is Auctioning Off His Old Rockport Running Shoes for Charity

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is doing a little clearing out for charity.

Carter has selected dozens of items from his personal collection to be auctioned off to benefit The Carter Center, the global nonprofit organization he founded in 1982 after leaving office. The auction is scheduled to take place during a five-day retreat that kicks off on June 27 at the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Wash. The event will be attended by Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, and invited guests.

One of the items up for grabs is a pair of size 10 Rockport sneakers that Carter, an avid runner, wore until 2004. The simple white running shoes were given to him in 1999 by former Reebok International CEO Paul Fireman. (Reebok acquired Rockport in 1986; since then, the brand has had several owners and seen rocky times, culminating in a bankruptcy filing last month.)

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The shoes are accompanied by a signed photo of Carter running.
CREDIT: Katie Archibald-Woodward

Carter has signed each shoe on the top and written a short note describing their history. The sneakers are mounted in a wooden shadowbox and accompanied by a framed and autographed color photograph of Carter jogging in a pair of navy-blue kicks.

A member of the plebe cross-country team during his time at the U.S. Naval Academy in the early 1940s, Carter took up the sport once again at 54 while serving as president. He famously collapsed during his first road race in 1979 — a grueling 6.2-mile trek through the Catoctin Mountains in Maryland — sparking fears that he was having a heart attack. After being raced by car to Camp David, doctors determined that the president was simply suffering from heat exhaustion. Ninety minutes later, Carter returned to the race to hand out trophies at the finish line.

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Carter (R) running at a Wisconsin high school in 1979.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

According to the Carter Center auction catalog, his Rockport sneakers are valued at $1,500. Other notable items featured in the auction include: three guitars signed by rock legends Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the late Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band and Chris Stapleton; a set of three autographed baseballs from Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds; an original quill signature of President Abraham Lincoln with a family lithograph; rare and original Walt Disney animation cels; and a 1970 oil painting of President John F. Kennedy that also includes a lock of his hair.

Proceeds will support the Carter Center’s work to advance peace and health globally. Click here to get a closer look at all of the items featured in the upcoming auction.

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