Schipma raises funds for tuition assistance in 24-hour run

Krystle Wagner • Sep 22, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Michele Schipma used her relay race training as an opportunity to help local students and families.

Last weekend, Schipma ran 24 hours and raised more than $2,200 for tuition assistance for Western Michigan Christian. Schipma said she’d heard about 24-hour runs and loves running, and thought, “why not?”

“I wanted to help as many families as possible that are unable to pay full tuition but really want to send their kids to a wonderful Christian school,” she said.

When Schipma completed the run, WMC students congratulated her. Schipma ran 65 miles — 147,112 steps.

Throughout the 24-hour run, family, friends, fellow Grand Haven Running Club members, and WMC’s cross country and soccer teams joined Schipma.

Her children, Tes and Jake, attended Grand Haven Christian School and are now students at WMC. Tes and some of her friends walked along side Schipma for 17 miles, and after they finished walking, they stayed and cheered Schipma on.

Schipma said she was proud and impressed by her daughter’s tenacity.

A trainer from iMove helped Schipma during the event.

When Schipma was alone from 2-4 a.m., she felt like giving up, but noted that she prayed and God led her through the challenge, which she said He always does. Schipma said she also doesn’t like giving up once she sets a goal.

It’s the support of everyone who prayed for her, and ran or walked with her, that also helped keep her going. Schipma said having WMC students experience part of the run with her was “wonderful” and “a once in a life time experience.”

In February 2013, Schipma started running to train for the GHCS Sailors Challenge 5k, and to lose weight and get in shape.

Schipma has run about 6,000 miles and completed 45 races of a variety of distances. She said she runs races in honor of other people because it helps keep her focused and praying.

“I pray for them throughout the race,” she said. “If I see someone is struggling in something or they have important things coming up, I pray for them.”

Schipma also runs in honor of Kiara, who is her running buddy through the Facebook group “I Run 4 Michael.”

The group matches runners with people who have disabilities. Schipma’s buddy, Kiara, is 15-years-old and has spina bifida.

The two met a year ago when Schipma ran a marathon in Kiara’s town. Schipma said the emotions she felt were “incredible” to have someone caring and encouraging her to keep going.

Schipma is training for the Ragnar Relay, which will take teams from Pere Marquette in Muskegon to Traverse City. In a 24-hour span, they will travel 200 miles.

Schipma said for her,  running is about other people — inspiring them to move and showing her children that you can accomplish anything when you put your mind and heart into something.

“I still have goals I would love to accomplish,” she said. “But with others helping, it makes it a little easier and a whole lot more meaningful.”

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