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November 2010

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Great Strides
Written By: 
Margaret Allen
Photographs By: 
Alice Keeney

A local couple journeys 250 miles to bring Ethiopian farmers one step closer to a better life


400 kilometers. 12 days. 8 athletes. 1 mission. On January 8, a group of runners from across the U.S., including locals Dena Piecuch and Jeffrey Metzler, will set out to cross southern Ethiopia—on foot. Hoping to bring awareness to the lack of education in fair-trade coffee-growing communities, the Run Across Ethiopia team is raising funds to support schools and coffee co-ops in the region. (Though Ethiopian exports produce almost 60 percent of the country’s GDP, most farming families live in poverty with little access to health care and education.) So far, Piecuch, a City of Charleston cop, and Metzler, manager and coach at Lowcountry Crossfit, have met half of their $30,000 goal, due December 1. They’ve also been tirelessly training with 15-mile runs every weekend. The Lowcountry
residents know Ethiopia’s 8,000-foot elevation will take a toll during the ultramarathon, but it hasn’t slowed them. “Some have said the run is impossible,” says Metzler. “We plan to prove them wrong.”

To help, visit Dena & Jeffrey’s RAE Facebook page or email denapiecuch@gmail.com.




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