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Man Routes 100-Mile Run Securing Health Care for Inner-City Children

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- On May 15/16, Jason Harper will run 100 miles to raise awareness of the plight of health care for many inner- city children of Oak Ridge Elementary School in Oak Park, the roughest part of inner-city Sacramento, California. Harper, a Community Outreach Director, has partnered with Principal Steve Lewis for the last four years.

Learning of the school's plight, Harper and friend Rick Cole, a local pastor, ran the 2005 Big Sur Marathon. The first-time runners finished the race and raised $20,000 for the school. Since then, more than $100,000 has been raised in goods and services, academic supplies, computers, backpacks, and a recently implemented teachers' lounge that rivals any Starbucks.

Now, four years and four marathons later, Harper has raised the stakes. On May 15, he will run 100 miles in 24 hours, starting in El Dorado Hills, through Folsom, around Sacramento and ending at the inner-city school near downtown Sacramento. Harper calls it The Extra Mile Run and believes that it will raise the awareness and finances needed to provide every uninsured child adequate health care.

Principal Lewis believes a healthy child learns better: "A child's health and wholeness is critical to assure long-term learning."

Harper will ask businesses, individuals, pediatricians, dentists and health care providers to provide assistance in securing basic health care services and enrollment in health care programs. Along the run, media personalities, community leaders, even Harper's nine-year-old daughter will run a segment of the route.

Harper has asked Cole, his original running partner, and Lewis to run the last ten miles, finishing the 100th mile on Oak Ridge's campus.

"Finishing at Oak Ridge will show our kids that people care," said Lewis.

"By addressing the lack of sufficient health care, Jason's efforts raise the potential for academic progress. Students can't focus on education when distracted with sickness, illness and without basic health care," said the principal.

There are 1.2 million uninsured children in California; 70% qualify for coverage but are not enrolled. Harper seeks to raise enough to sponsor a child's program premium, assist the family with the enrollment and establish a transport system to appointments.

The Extra Mile Run routes Harper around Sacramento and finishes at Oak Ridge Elementary, the school where he has volunteered for four years.

"We care about kids. Others do, too. Taking on the health care issues of an inner-city school can be done anywhere. It creates a tipping point of compassion," said Harper.

The run will raise awareness and funding, to sponsor a child's program premium, assist the family with the enrollment process, and establish a transportation system to appointments.

For more information, please contact:

Jason Harper


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SOURCE Equal Start Presents: The Extra Mile Run
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