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Tulsa Runner Goes The Distance For Uganda Orphans

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Tulsa businessman Paul Rejda is passionate about distance running and Uganda orphans. Tulsa businessman Paul Rejda is passionate about distance running and Uganda orphans.
He and other runners are raising money for an orphanage by logging 8,225 miles - the actual distance of a Run to Uganda. He and other runners are raising money for an orphanage by logging 8,225 miles - the actual distance of a Run to Uganda.
The funds raised will go to build a school for orphans. The funds raised will go to build a school for orphans.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Local businessman Paul Rejda runs in his spare time - not exactly a unique hobby in Tulsa. But he's putting his passion to work for an amazing cause: building a school for orphans in the war-torn country of Uganda.

Owning his own painting business is Paul Rejda's day job. Up until two years ago, he was a dedicated backpacker in his off time, and then one of his buddies got him into running the trails at Turkey Mountain.

Now he has a new passion.

"You get around the wrong people and you start wanting to run longer races and it seems like everybody I know that runs, tends to run longer races," said Paul Rejda.

This weekend, Paul is doing the Prairie Spirit Trail Race, from Ottawa to Iola, Kansas and back. Total distance: 100 miles.

"After like the first 100 Mk, which is about 60 miles, it really just gets mental. So I've really been training mentally also and being prepared for wanting to quit," he said.

But there are so many reasons Paul can't quit. Those reasons include picturing the faces of orphans from the country of Uganda. They've lost parents to AIDs, violent attacks, malnutrition - just to name a few causes.

Their stories moved Paul to start a fundraiser with his buddy Jono, called Run to Uganda.

Every penny they raise goes to Owasso-based charity Project Hope Worldwide. They need $50,000 to build a school in the Calo Me Lare Orphanage which is bursting at the seams.

Paul and his buddy Jono came up with this 100 mile run for charity idea - on the trails, where Paul's passion for running was first ignited.

"You know, when my buddy and I were thinking of a fundraiser, most of the time we were discussing it and getting the ideas was when we were back here on Turkey Mountain. So, we just knew that if we were gonna do a fundraiser, we need to incorporate running somehow because that's our passion," said runner Paul Rejda.

A 100 mile race is the pinnacle in the life of most runners, but Paul's not doing this for fame, a personal record or a test of his manhood. He's doing it for them.

"To think about the orphans over there and think about what they've been through. Their parents have died from violence like that or from AIDS or from malnutrition. Basically, whatever pain I go through is nothing compared to what they've had to go through," he said.

"That keeps me motivated. I know that with donors and the people who are sponsoring me, I've got a lot of motivation to push on through no matter how I feel."

He's recruited other runners too, who are being sponsored to log every mile they run until they get to 8,225 miles - the actual distance of a Run to Uganda.

You can donate to the cause by visiting RuntoUganda.com or going on their Facebook page.

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