Omaha coach runs across the state to raise money for students
Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News
KEARNEY, Neb. — One Omaha track and field coach is running across the state of Nebraska to raise money for his team and students at another school with learning disabilities.
Joe Wiebold is running from the Nebraska–Wyoming border all the way through to Iowa and he hopes to make it in just 10 days.
Wiebold plans on completing 490 miles while raising money for the Phoenix Academy, a nonprofit school for students with learning challenges, and the St. Gerald Middle School track and field team in Omaha.
"Both causes kind of mirror each other. The Phoenix Academy is a place that doesn’t give up on kids. They do what they can to find the light inside of them. They elevate the strengths and weaknesses. They find the strength, they elevate it so that the weakness disappears. Same thing with our track team,” said Wiebold.
Wiebold partnered with TICDA, a motivational clothing line that stands for "Today I Can Do Anything."
Two years ago, Wiebold tried to run this route but over halfway through he was forced to quit.
"So I got 298 miles in six days the last time and my left quad, the upper part of my leg, started to cramp and I thought I just had a cramp. Unbeknownst to me, everything below my left knee had failed,” said Wiebold.
He has since had surgery and is back to run again.
"I said it to you earlier, it’s not often you get to put what feels like the weight of the world on your shoulders, but when you fail it, it doesn’t feel good. We had a chance to make a lot of money and make a big difference and to have to stop it really bums you out,” said Wiebold.
Wiebold said the money raised could go towards equipment and gear for the team, and for the Phoenix Academy, he said the sky is the limit.
They could use the money for uniforms, new windows, anything that would help.
Two years ago he raised $13,000.
This year he’s only raised $2,600 so far.
"I know everybody has said you should try to set a goal to make that mark, but I’m not going to do that. I don’t want to set a goal because I don’t want to stop, so if we can make as much as possible I’d like to do that,” said Wiebold.
Wiebold said he is hoping to work with TICDA on making this a national challenge so that one person from every state can run and raise money for their favorite charities.
Wiebold suffered another injury during his trip to his opposite leg.
He is braced up and stills plans to do his best and finish strong in the last three days of the challenge.