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Update on Mike’s Race to Help Students in the DR.

26 September 2014 3 Comments
Mike training for the G2G Ultra

Mike training for the G2G Ultra

Mike’s heroic battle in the seven-day  Grand to Grand Ultra Race, one of the most grueling distance races in the world, may have come to an end, but his goal to raise funds for 15 high-achieving students in The Dominican Republic for special ESL Training through Children International has not. Visit Mike’s English Tutoring Project in The Dominican Republic to see the latest progress totals.

After months of preparation, Aura House partner Mike Epler, bravely competed in the ‘Grand to Grand Ultra Race, to try and raise $3000 to provide 15 Dominican students with the opportunity to study English. In addition to competing, Mike compassionately has pledged to match each donation up to $500 from his own funds until September 28th.

The race, lasting 6 stages, began in the morning of September 22nd at the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Mike heroically finished the first two stages with elite ultra-marathon runners from all over the world. Each stage normally forces a number of runners to withdraw, usually for health reasons. Mike successfully completed Stages 1 and 2, and most of 3, where unfortunately he had to withdraw due to complications. The entire course covers approx 170 miles (273 km).

Mike’s Stage 1 Results

90 107 Epler, Michael M USA 53 10:41:22

Mike’s Stage 2 Results

91 107 Epler, Michael M USA 53 10:45:36


Mike writes,

“It is never a happy time dropping from a race… It is usually a collection of reasons adding up over days. Some of us experienced a rain squall with a raging downpour with full-on hail with nowhere to go for cover. When it rains in the desert the roads become rivers, so running in wet shoes added to the blister count. Hot every day, 99*F+. Today we climbed a trail straight up a cliff…then my stomach and hydration issues caught up with me and with the aid station cutoff times I couldn’t recover in time to complete the long stage.”

Mike's Race

Mike, third from left in white, starting Stage 2.



Even though Mike was unable to complete Stage 3 that also knocked out 22 other runners, that doesn’t mean that his overall purpose can’t be completed. There are still 2 days left to help Mike achieve his goal of $3000 by September 28, the period Mike is doubling donations. Any amount would help and be greatly appreciated. As Mike says, “Your support will help these students better their lives.” Don’t miss out on being a part of Mike’s courageous initiative.

View the English Tutoring Project in The Dominican Republic project page for the latest totals and more details about the prospective students being helped. Please, make a gift of ANY size here and change a child’s life forever by opening doors to education and a brighter future.


Mike's Rice 2

One runner dropped out after Stage 1, three after Stage 2, and a whopping 22 had to drop after the hellish Stage 3.




Mike wasn't exaggerating. The runners had to climb a bleeping cliff AFTER running 57 miles.

Mike wasn’t exaggerating. The runners had to climb a bleeping cliff as part of their 51.2 mile run during Stage 3.






























  • Kristen said:

    We’re so proud of all you accomplished, Mike! You did more in three days than most people do in their entire lives! Thanks for helping the students in the Dominican Republic and wishing you the best for your next adventure.

  • Sabrina Priebe said:

    Blood, sweat and tears. Megakudos to Mike Epler of the multiple Ultramarathon hell-for-a-purpose runs. You guys should make a book out of this; I bet it would attract a lot of donors.

  • Kristen said:

    Hey Sabrina! Please inbox me on Facebook. There’s something cooking at Aura’s House that will allow it to grow (and have a much larger impact moving forward). Would love to pick your brain. Agreed about the book though. Good idea. Cheers! K

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