A Young Runner Pays it Forward

Griff Tolly is warming things up in Anderson. The TL Hanna Senior has established a very impressive resume as a runner and a student. But Griff isn’t looking for personal accolades. He has a great idea to improve the lives of others in the area. He is providing a fun and easy way we can all help.

The “Blanket Run” was born out of Griff’s quest for a cause. Last year Griff approached his Father, Fred Tolly, and asked what he could do for people who need a helping hand. Fred checked with Anderson Interfaith Ministries (AIM) and The Salvation Army. A major need for both organizations was warm blankets. Griff quickly mobilized his fellow athletes, family members and friends. Within two weeks 100 new blankets were collected and a group gathered for a 4 mile “fun run” through the streets of Anderson.

Building on the success of last year, Griff is bringing the Blanket Run back for 2014. The “run” is more of a social event than a sporting event. On December 13, 2014* everyone is invited to gather at Wren Park downtown. The start time is 10:00AM. Running is optional. A 4 mile course will be marked for those wanting to participate. Walkers, bikers, pets, all are welcome. Bring the family for a celebration of holiday spirit. 

The goal this year is to collect 500 blankets.

There are 4 drop locations for new, unwrapped blankets. These collection sites will begin collecting the day after Thanksgiving.

1. Anderson Area YMCA, 201 E. Reed Rd. Anderson

2. BB&T, 4007 Clemson Blvd. Anderson

3. BB&T, 1637 E Greenville St 29621

4. 3 Cross Tri, 404 S. Main St. Anderson

The plan is to make the Blanket Run an annual celebration. Griff’s younger Sister Caroline helped with the original event and plans to carry the torch after Griff goes off to college. Plus there’s another Tolly, Matt, on the way up. With the Tolly kids running the show, the event is sure to continue for many years. 

As mentioned in the opening, Griff has an impressive resume. However, I would not have learned of his accomplishments just by interviewing Griff. Luckily his Father was available to fill me in on what Griff has been up to. Fresh off an outstanding performance at The AAAA SC State High School Championships in Cross Country, Griff signed a letter of intent to accept a Cross Country Scholarship at Presbyterian College. But before he goes to run for the Blue Hose, Griff will be one of a small group of elite runners selected to relay the game ball for the Shrine Bowl from Shriners Hospital in Greenville to the stadium in Spartanburg as part of the Shrine Bowl Running Team. In addition to athletics he serves as a student government senator at Hanna, and as a youth elder at First Presbyterian Church in Anderson. 

Griff Tolly embodies the “pay it forward” spirit. Let’s follow his example and cover the upstate with warm new blankets. 

*In case of rain, the event will be held Dec. 14, 2014 at 2:00.

Written by Jerry McClung