BIGFORK — Bigfork High School cross country coach and director of technology Beau Wielkoszewski will run over 500 miles to raise awareness and money for the cross-country program.
"I started looking at some math and how far I could run and 569, 570, maybe 600 [miles] if a really good day happens is reasonable. So, it's something that people can latch onto with Montana. You know, they can visualize that distance across the state," said Wielkoszewski
He says that cross-country is one of several programs that aren't funded by the high school, adding that the program needs around $9,000 to be sustainable.
"Without that money I can't take kids to meets. I often have to choose whether or not we can go to a meet because we can't afford the bus fees, gas money or entrance fees. So, every little bit counts," said Wielkoszewski.
He will run for ten days over 550 miles between Dec. 28 and Jan. 7 in Phoenix on a one-mile track in 15 minute increments.
"Fifteen minutes running, 15 minutes walking. And do that for five hours in the morning, walk some. Do that for five hours in the afternoon, walk some. And that should get me somewhere about 65 miles a day," explained Wielkoszewski.
Right now, Wielkoszewski runs up to three hours a day indoors to be acclimated to the warmer weather in Phoenix.
Bigfork High School Senior cross-country runner Scout Jessop says she loves the sport and says her coach inspires her, "it's a great motivator. It's really nice to see that the people who are teaching you how to run are also going out and doing it themselves."
Jessop added that she hopes the school can use this money to fund crucial pieces for their meets, "just like the track team, we're like out there when it's raining and it's snowing. So, it's kind of important that we have a good tent to stay, you know dry and we don't really have that."
If you'd like to donate to the cross-country team and to help Wielkoszewski you can donate to their Patreon page. You can also send money to Bigfork High School at 600 Commerce Sreet, Bigfork, MT 59911.