CRE Assistant Principal Runs to Make a Difference for Colorado & African Children

Just how far could you push yourself physically?  Where exactly is “the limit?”  And if you pushed yourself to that limit, what would it mean to you?  What would it mean to the world?

The assistant principal from Mwebaza Foundation partner school, Coyote Ridge Elementary, recently explored those boundaries, and pondered these questions. On August 21 and 22, Donald Beuke took on a challenge that many top athletes in the world would not dare undertake.  He ran the extremely grueling “Leadville 100” race.  Participants race 100 miles over some of the highest mountain trails in the United States, with the lowest point on the race being 9,200 feet above sea level, and the highest point being a staggering 12,600 feet above sea level.  Runners must complete the race in 30 hours.  Naturally many who start the race never finish.  One must be in peak physical condition, and have the indomitable will to keep moving when one’s body is yelling “STOP!”

Around 800 athletes from all over the world take on this challenge.  All are out to prove something to themselves or others.  But few would even think to do what Donald Beuke did.  Donald decided that if he was going to take on such a challenge as the Leadville 100, he wanted his hours of training and the physical beating his body would take in the race to accomplish more than the fulfillment of a personal goal.  Donald wanted his efforts to help others. Thus, he determined early on to use his participation in the Leadville 100 to bring both attention and funding to the cause of Coyote Ridge’s sister school through the Mwebaza Foundation, St. Paul Infant Primary School in Nkokonjeru Uganda.  “I told myself, ‘If I am going to do this, I want to do something that is beneficial for Coyote Ridge… for kids.’” Donald asserted.

Donald initated a “Penny a Mile” campaign, asking Coyote Ridge families and his own family and friends to serve as “sponsors” of his participation in the race.  But the funds raised would not go towards his training, but rather, would be donated to the Mwebaza Foundation to help St. Paul School.  Sponsorship donations would be used by St. Paul School to complete the purchase of land needed to eventually build a new school to replace the crumbling, overcrowded outbuildings that currently serve as the school.

Donald did successfully complete the race, although not without some dark moments where he had to face injury, pain, and extreme fatigue.  He crossed the finish line an impressive 27 hours and 45 minutes after beginning the race. And Donald’s efforts successfully brought in $2000 – enough that St. Paul School was able to purchase the land for their future school building.  Donald’s race is benefiting over 100 impoverished schoolchildren in a remote Ugandan rainforest!

Donald accomplished a Herculean feat of which he should rightfully be proud.  However, he can also be proud that he has served as an example to hundreds of Coyote Ridge children and their families.  He has shown them that personal victories can be sweeter and have a lasting impact if they are used to help others.