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Thursday, October 17, 2013 - OU student to run Detroit marathon for charity
By Katie Williams, contributing writer

Through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Lapastora plays basketball with children in sports campus in London.
Charlie Lapastora hates running. 

He’s been doing an awful lot of it lately, though, and he’s learning to love it – for a good cause. 

The Oakland University senior is training to run the full Detroit Free Press Talmer Bank marathon on Sunday, Oct. 20. He will run with his church group, The Woodside Runners, to raise money for orphans in Thailand and India. 

“I wasn’t necessarily passionate about running,” Lapastora, a communication major, said. “But I am passionate about helping the orphans. I just went for it and started training. I’m becoming addicted to it now – I understand that runner’s high everyone talks about.” 
 
Lapastora will join roughly 6,000 other runners on a 26.2-mile course weaving through downtown Detroit and Windsor, with international crossings at the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. 

He began training with The Woodside Runners this summer, and Lapastora is roughly half way to his fundraising goal of $1,000. 


“My heart is for kids, and I have a huge passion for helping them,” he said. “On mile 15, 16, 17 when I’m thinking, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ I’ll have them in mind. I’m only one person and I can’t save the world, but I try to live my life to love and serve others as Jesus did.” 

Prior to registering for the marathon, Lapastora, who is minoring in international relations, traveled with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to Romania, Italy, London and Wales where he learned about sport ministry and worked at various children’s’ sport camps. 

Working with these children has encouraged Lapastora to continue giving back. 

“The kids in Romania were the most genuinely happy people I have ever seen and they have next to nothing. It stuck out to me, because I think in America we live in a bubble centered around material things and ourselves. I think if we had a mindset to love and serve others, the world would be a better place.” 

In addition to his full academic schedule, Lapastora is active on campus and within his community. He works two jobs, holds a broadcasting internship, hosts a radio show on WXOU, serves as treasurer for the Recreation Leadership Council, is a student leader for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a group leader at his church, and is a member of the lacrosse club. 
 
Lapastora was also a 2013 recipient of OU’s prestigious Keeper of the Dream scholarship, which is awarded to student leaders who demonstrate strong citizenship, scholarship and leadership in promoting interracial understanding. 
 
As the marathon approaches, Lapastora has realized how much running long distances relates to life. 

“No matter how hard things may seem and no matter how hurt you may get in life, it’s all about how you get back up and persevere through the storms. You have to just keep going.”

Oakland University is a vibrant academic community with more than 20,000 students and more than 260 degree and certificate programs. To learn more about academics, achievements, and events at OU, visit the news site at oakland.edu/newsatou and follow the news team on Twitter at @OaklandU_News.
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