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Helmut Schmidt, Published August 15 2010

Running across North Dakota to support children

A Fargo father and daughter plan to run the width of North Dakota, starting today, to raise money to pay for medical and dental care for uninsured children in the state.

Elliott Kabanuk, 65, and his daughter, Elisha Ka­ba­nuk, 34, will split much of the running from Beach to Fargo.

Before they’re done, they’ll each run the equivalent of more than six marathons in 12 days, Elliott Kabanuk said.

Running across the state was Elliott Kabanuk’s idea.

“I thought he was crazy. I thought he was going through another mid-life crisis,” Elisha Kabanuk said. But she bought into the idea, too.

To give the run meaning, they sought a cause, settling on Caring For Children. The program provides health insurance for some of the state’s 11,000 children with no coverage.

The run along Interstate 94 is 360 miles. It costs roughly $360 to insure a child for one year through Caring for Children, Elliott Kabanuk said.

“Isn’t that something how that worked out?” he said. “Somebody pledges a dollar a mile, they basically pay for a child’s health and dental coverage for one year.”

Because Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota administrates the program without charge, 100 percent of what’s donated will help children, he said.

More than 20 sponsors are providing material or logistical support, website services and publicity and arranging fundraising activities. A list of sponsors is on their website, www.runnorthdakota.com.

“We just wanted to run, and now it’s become kind of a crusade of a sort,” Elliott Kabanuk said, thanking the sponsors.

Elisha Kabanuk played basketball for the University of North Dakota. She owns and operates World of Officiating and officiates at high school and college basketball games.

Elliott Kabanuk ran track for Jamestown (N.D.) College. He works for Lutheran Social Services in Fargo as a gambling addiction counselor and job developer with New American Services.

They’ve run two half marathons and the Fargo Marathon together, Elisha Kabanuk said.

She said they will run 30 to 35 miles a day. They’ll start about 5 or 5:30 a.m. and run until noon, each putting in about 15 miles. They’ll rest during the heat of the day and then run about five miles together in the evenings when possible.

It’s a rigorous regimen that will mean closely monitoring their health to avoid injuries, said Elisha Kabanuk, who has a personal training degree from UND.

They’ll also make appearances at Pizza Ranch restaurants along the route. Pizza Ranch is donating part of its sales to the charity.

They expect to finish between noon and 1 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Veterans Memorial Bridge on Main Avenue in Fargo, Elliott Kabanuk said.

A news conference will follow around 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Fargo, he said.

“This is for the children. This is what it’s all about,” he said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583