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Boston Teacher Plans 155-Mile Run Through Sahara To Raise Money For Laptops

By David Wade, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – For Liz Byron teaching fractions to her special needs students is 7/8ths satisfaction and 1/8th frustration.

“It’s frustrating to know that technology is so embedded in our lives and then you come to school and it’s absent,” Byron said.

Byron is a Boston Public School teacher at the Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston. The entire 6th grade class of 42 students share just four laptops.

11 year-old Jennifer Gomes says that is a math problem.

“We only have a few right now and we want to expand our education on the computers,” she said.

To fix the education system, Byron could run for office. Or, she could run forever.

“I’m planning on running 155 miles through the Sahara desert,” Byron said.

To raise $50,000 for 30 new laptops for her kids, Byron is running a 155 mile ultramarathon in Africa next spring called the Marathon des Sables.

It’s basically 5 1/2 marathons, over six days, in 110 degree heat, all your food and water carried on your back. What makes someone surrounded by fall foliage think about running through the burning hot deserts of  Africa?

Well, Byron told WBZ she Googled “toughest running race on earth” and this race came up. She signed up.

And so, for breakfast before school Byron is devouring asphalt.

“My runs range from 5 miles to 53 miles so far,” she said.

In school, a chart reminds her she’s only a fraction of the way to her fundraising goal. She needs $50,000. She’s raised $8,000.

Donate: click here to go to Byron’s Website

But her kids believe.

“I’m sure she’ll make it back with laptops in her arms saying ‘I won the race,” Gomes said.

“It may seem like a crazy race but what we attempt to do every day as teachers is a bigger challenge than trying to run 155 miles in the Sahara,” says Byron.

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