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Enumclaw Dad Runs Marathon, Raises $1,855 for School District Special Needs Program

Chris DePoppe presented a check to the Enumclaw School Board on Monday night following his completion of the Seattle Marathon in November in which he clocked in at 3:44.

Chris DePoppe last ran 26.2 miles at age 18 but worked hard this year to meet a personal fitness goal to cover that distance again in the Seattle Marathon this past November.

He ran an admirable time of 3:44.

But that's not the number that made an impression Monday night at a regular meeting of the Enumclaw School Board.

DePoppe, in one month of fundraising, pooled $1,855 that he donated to the Enumclaw School District's Special Needs Program. The sum speaks volumes not only of one man's drive to give to a program that has benefitted his family but of the many community donors who also lent their support to his effort. "People were more generous than I had thought," he said. "They sent in more than they pledged."

DePoppe asked sponsors to donate a certain amount for every minute that he ran under four hours, believing he could comfortably come in at about 3:45. That meant if he lagged and clocked in at 4 hours, no one would be contributing any money to the cause.

In his announcement for sponsors, DePoppe wrote, "Marathon running is a mental game, so imagine the motivation if I know that every minute of delay will cost the kids in the Special Needs Program of the Enumclaw School District $100. When I want to walk or slow down because my feet hurt, I will think of my daughter Jillian and her friends in the Special Needs program, grit my teeth and keep going."

Jillian, who attends Westwood Elementary and is in Kathleen Smith's special education class, accompanied her father to the board meeting when he addressed them during public comment. She has benefitted greatly from the instruction she's received, DePoppe said, from Smith and from Sheerie Slatton before she retired, as well as numerous aids.

When asked, Jillian said she was proud of her father and would maybe like to run with him -- even if running seems boring. Her favorite things to do in school are singing and PE, her father said.

Raising money for the Special Needs Program had not been the primary driver for his signing on to the Seattle Marathon this year. In fact, DePoppe said he hadn't really started fundraising until about October. However, Jillian and her friends regularly take part in a 5K event that this year was sponsored by New Life Foursquare Church. Proceeds from that event go toward helping the Special Needs Program, so he decided to incorporate his marathon goal as an extension of that effort. 

Next up for DePoppe? The Rainier to Ruston Ultramarathon.

More from Monday's School Board Meeting

Reorganization: The Board in January will commence under a new structure with Corey Cassell as the new school board president, April Schroeder as the new vice president and Tina McGann as the new legislative representative. Outgoing president Chris VanHoof was honored for his leadership in the last two years.

Sandy Hook: Superintendent Mike Nelson took time to address local concerns stemming from Friday's tragedy in Newtown, CT. Nelson covered points on preparedness and communications and emphasized the strong partnership between the district and local law enforcement in Enumclaw, Black Diamond and King County in ensuring student safey. The upcoming winter break allows for staff to reassess its own safety procedures. Read more from the District Website.

PTA Donations Approved:

  • $5,900 from the Kibler PTA to Kibler Elementary for 2nd Grade Swim Program ($1,000), State Maps program for the Promethean Board ($400), Classroom Enhancements ($4,200) and books for 2nd Grade Mentoring Program ($300).
  • $900 from TMMS PTA to TMMS to Lisa Horton for Project Lead the Way tools ($300), Rose Leggett for a USS Tahoma Marines Civil War Presentation ($300), and 2 sub days for Dan Rogel to observe Science/Math classes at Tahoma School District ($300)
  • $1,147.40 from Southwood PTA to Southwood Elementary for National Geographic subscriptions
Chris DePoppe December 20, 2012 at 09:17 PM
April, thanks for the nice article. I also want to thank all of the Enumclaw drivers that drove wide around me during my training runs along the shoulderless back roads of Enumclaw. Also, if anyone else wants to donate, send a check written to "New Life Church" with memo "ESD Special Needs". Mail to PO Box 519; Enumclaw, WA 98022. Thanks, Chris DePoppe
April Chan December 21, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Thank you for sharing your story with me! Though I suppose now that I put it in writing and released it to the Internet that you are in fact doing the ultramarathon, there's no turning back! :) Looking forward to hearing about that too as the event gets closer!

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