Sacramento Man Finished 100-mile-run In 100 Degree Heat To Secure Health Care For Uninsured Children

As the thermometer crept above the 100 degrees, so did the expectation of a strong finish for Jason Harper’s 100-mile-run for the children of inner-city Sacramento. Harper's run secured health care for every uninsured child at Oak Ridge Elementary.
 
 
Harper, right, Approaches Finish of 100 Mile Run
Harper, right, Approaches Finish of 100 Mile Run
 
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Tags:
Health Care
Marathon
Running
Ultra Marathon
Children S Health
Education
Compassion
Character
Extra Mile Run

Industrys:
Education
Non-profit

Location:
Sacramento - California - US

May 28, 2008 - PRLog -- Sacramento, CA-  As the thermometer crept above the 100 degree mark, so did the expectation of a strong finish for Jason Harper’s 100-mile-run for the children of inner-city Sacramento.  The Extra Mile Run was created by Harper to raise awareness and support for the uninsured children of Oak Ridge Elementary School located in Sacramento’s roughest area.

Harper, 36, of El Dorado Hills, crossed the finish line on the playground of Oak Ridge 29 hours and 35 minutes after he started his journey.  Slightly dehydrated and exhausted, Harper’s motivation never waned, though his body did.

“It was a long night and I am glad I am finished with the heat,” Harper stated with ice packs being layered on his neck.  “At the sixty mile mark, I was very nauseous and couldn’t hold much down.  My medic team recognized that hyperthermia was setting in and they immediately made adjustments.”

Despite the difficulties with the heat that peaked at 103 degrees, Harper continued to run.

“If we were really going to bring change, great awareness was going to have to happen.  I think running and finishing in the heat brought a lot more attention to the run,” Harper stated while recovering at home.  “I never believed so many people would support and get behind The Extra Mile Run and Equal Start.”

For the last four years, Harper through Equal Start, has raised more than $100,000 in goods and service to help Oak Ridge Elementary thrive in their inner-city location.  Despite the efforts of Equal Start, test scores remained nearly unchanged.

Harper asked Principal Steve Lewis what he thought the reason was for little academic increase. Without hesitation, Lewis said, “A child’s health and wellness.” Harper strategized and then asked, “How can state-mandated test scores go up when sickness and access to basic health care escapes them?”

Harper discovered more than 1,000,000 children in California did not have health care and yet 70% of them qualified for it.  The disconnect for medical coverage was at the enrollment process.

“We found great friends at Cover the Kids.  They mentored us to understand how to best get families aware of the available medical services.”  

Cover the Kids is a non-profit organization that assists families with the enrollment process to Medi-Cal, Healthy Kids, and Healthy Families.  These organizations handle the medical needs of California's under-privileged children.  

Many in the medical and health insurance industry have acknowledged the practical nature of Harper’s run.  Brett Rodarte, a long-term broker of health insurance coverage and a volunteer at Oak Ridge, explained the health care dilemma.  Many families without basic health care use the emergency rooms, that can't deny care, as their only option.  The cost for the simplest of procedures can cost thousands.  Those costs raise health care premiums and cost tax payers.

“The Extra Mile Run concept could take the pressure off of emergency rooms for non-threatening treatments,” said Rodarte.   "As illogical as his hundred-mile run was, the approach he took was very practical.  His vision is proactive, instead of reactive.”

With nearly 800 people crammed on the playground to see the finish, media and camera crews scurried to get in position.  The staff, faculty, and students buzzed with anticipated hope of a strong finish.  At 1:04 pm, more than twenty-nine hours after the start, Harper, his running buddy Rick Cole, and Principal Steve Lewis appeared in the distance.  Led by an obviously pained Harper, the trio galloped towards the finish in the second day of triple digit heat.   As they approached, Cole raised Harper’s arm to signify victory was near.  Harper crossed and the children of Oak Ridge screamed encouragement.  The faculty and parents joined them.  

On this day, everyone at Oak Ridge Elementary knew they were significant.   The value of going The Extra Mile was more than a cliché.   For Jason Harper, It was the 100th mile that ended his greatest run and began the children’s greatest hope, health care.
[View The Extra Mile Run and Harper’s Finish.  

For more information, interviews, or contacting Oak Ridge Elementary, please call 1-866-317-3224 or visit online at http://www.extramilerun.com.

Other sites:  http://www.coverthekids.com, http://www.charactercombine.com

# # #

Equal Start Presents: The Extra Mile Run and service to help Oak Ridge Elementary School thrive in their inner-city location.

For the last four years, Equal Start has given over $100,000 in goods and service to help Oak Ridge Elementary School thrive in their inner-city location.  Equal Start's goal of getting every child health care commit is accomplished by one hundred percent of funds raised goes to the needs of the children. Every dime!
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