Iowa woman running 4X4X48 running challenge for 2nd year to help keep school in Africa open

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 4:45 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Many people take on 10k’s, marathons and mudruns, but one Cedar Rapids woman is taking on a challenge you may not have heard of. It’s called the 4X4X48 challenge.

You run four miles every four hours for 48 hours.

Last year Vanessa Vega took on the run by herself. The goal then wasn’t just to do the challenge, but to also help raise awareness and funds to open a school in Africa.

This year she’s taking on the challenge again, but this time she’s encouraging the public to join in.

”I feel like we need to. Get out of our bubble a little bit. And this is a great opportunity to be able to do that,” said Vega.

Last year she raised more than five thousand dollars and the school, Shekinah Glory Academy, became a reality, sending 74 kids to school.

”All of this is it’s a fundraiser. I mean, it is an endurance event. So you’re gonna get people that love to run and love to be outdoors and love to race. There’s a lot of people that like to do that, but really we’re really trying to raise funds for those kids,” said Vega.

Now she’s hitting the pavement again.

This time inviting the public to join her and run to raise funds to keep the school running.

Right now, the school runs just half day. Their fundraising goal this year is $20,000 to help get them to full days.

”That will get us at least a full year of being able to feed the kids. So it’s going to take more funds every year as the school grows and evolves with that oldest class,” said Vega.

The cause hits close to home for Vega. Her brother-in-law is from Sierra Leone.

”My husband has been dreaming of this for more than 20 years,” said Shana Kargbo.

Shana Kargbo said seeing the efforts from not only her sister who started the journey but the community that’s turned out in support has been life-changing.

“It’s just a joy honestly, to see people kind of rallying around students that they may never actually get to know out of what we’re wanting to raise now is to be able to grow that capacity,” said Kargbo.

And it’s all for the kids.

“These are real kids that deserve a chance. And Sierra Leone, they don’t have free public schools like we have here. And so this gives them a fair shot, an opportunity to make a difference not only for their lives but for their family’s lives. It impacts their whole entire families,” said Vega. ”This is an opportunity to be a part of something greater than yourself,” she said.

Vega will start the run at Midnight on June 10th.

For more information about the challenge and how to sign up, you can click here.