NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A high school principal is going the distance—and then some—to show his students that with determination, anything is possible.
CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock spoke with Daniel O’Keefe, principal at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx.
Students, teachers and alumni gathered around the track, starting at the break of dawn, to cheer him on as he began an ultramarathon—100 miles on the high school’s track.
“I thought it was a rumor at first,” senior Paulette Joseph said.
“I was speechless,” Alejandro Martinez, 17, said.
“I was like, is this a joke?” junior Leah Marie Pinili questioned.
But it is no joke. O’Keefe has done this before. This is his 10th ultramarathon.
“Just be able to prove you can accomplish something people think is impossible,” O’Keefe said.
But he says the first ultramarathon was rough.
“By the time I was to mile 90, I wanted to stop. I couldn’t believe I set myself up to do this,” he said.
This time, he set himself up on the home turf to set an example for his students.
“They can do anything they set their mind to,” he said.
O’Keefe’s car is sitting on the side of the track and is filled with nourishment. The only time he plans to stop is when he has to use the facilities.
The school is hoping it will make a big difference financially, too. Students are fundraising and every mile O’Keefe runs means more money for sports and activities.
“So far I’ve raised $53. I’m hoping to raise $103,” Joseph said.
O’Keefe thinks the most challenging part will be the monotony; he’ll have to run around the track 404 times, which should take 24 hours.
Thankfully, he’ll have company most of the time.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know people’s stories. That will make the time go by much more quickly,” he said.
Martinez is just one of the many people running with him.
“I’ll keep going until I give out,” he said.
As while they may not have their principal’s stamina yet, hopefully seeing him finish the final mile will encourage and inspire them to go the distance and make the impossible possible.
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