Dan O’Keefe is drumming up school spirit for homecoming weekend at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx.
The 57-year-old president of the school is planning to run 101 miles to raise money for the school’s athletics and activities program.
O’Keefe will begin his run at 4 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, and plans to complete the 407 laps on the 400-meter school track at about 7 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24.
This will be O’Keefe’s third ultramarathon to raise money for Spellman. In 2014, O’Keefe, the school’s principal at the time, ran 100 miles on the track, raising over $150,000 for the school’s athletics and activities program.
“The extra mile (in 2022) is to teach the students you can do something and then do something more,” O’Keefe told CNY.
In 2017, he ran 103.3 miles through Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx to raise money for the school’s financial aid program, completing his run in Times Square in 27 hours and 15 minutes.
Students, staff, alumni and friends of the school are welcome to jog laps around the track with O’Keefe, who recalled running only three laps alone at Cardinal Spellman in 2014.
The homecoming pep rally will be held after school on the football field Sept. 23 as O’Keefe runs around the track surrounding the field. Cardinal Spellman will host Bronx rival Mount St. Michael in the homecoming football game at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 24.
O’Keefe is challenging each Cardinal Spellman student to raise $101 for the school. The school has over 1,150 students.
O’Keefe was a cross-country runner at St. Francis Prep in Queens, before running in his first marathon at age 19. He has competed in the famed New York City and Boston marathons. He later started competing in ultramarathons, which are longer than the 26.2-mile marathons.
“As a runner, I always liked the idea of running marathons,” he said. “The next challenge was to increase the distance and go farther.
“You’re challenging yourself physically and mentally. You’re overcoming obstacles most people can’t imagine, overcoming exhaustion and lack of sleep.”
O’Keefe said he stays active during the week with walks or jogs before and after school, and during lunch. On the weekend, he’ll do a long run of 15 to 30 miles.
O’Keefe lives in New Jersey with his wife, Lucy, and four daughters, Erin, Tara, Nora and Bridget. Now in his 12th year at Cardinal Spellman, he has been school president since 2015.
Information and to donate: cardinalspellman.org.