Dr. Erik Heine, associate professor of music, is competing in an endurance challenge to raise money for a scholarship.
Heine will compete in a 12-hour endurance challenge is on Oct. 22 in “24 The Hard Way,” an annual race in Bluff Creek Park.
He has a personal goal of running at least 50 miles before the end of the day. His motivation for the challenge is to raise money and provide a scholarship to incoming students.
Heine originally got the idea after doing a 24-hour run two years ago to raise money for the Special Friends Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome, a rare disease Heine’s son has.
After the race, he decided he wanted to run again.
“I started thinking, I want to do this again, not just to do it, but for a good reason,” he said. “So I started talking to Dean (Mark) Parker in December about my idea and he called me back and said, ‘the more I think about it, the more excited I get.’”
The Deb Heine Endowed Scholarship is named after Heine’s late mother who supported his musical career throughout his life.
“I was originally a chemistry major, but decided to change to music my sophomore year and I remember how scared I was to tell my parents,” Heine said. “I remember being on the phone and I held my breath for what felt like 15 seconds after I told my parents and my Mom just said ‘okay.’ She was always the musical one and she really pushed me to continue my music growing up.”
Heine created the scholarship and has so far received donations from six individuals for $1,260 and pledges totaling $3.20 per mile.
Heine said he hopes that the scholarship will continue to help students attend OCU even after he’s gone.
“When you’re younger, everything is about what you can do for yourself, but as you get older, it’s about what you can do for others,” Heine said. “This really isn’t about me, it’s what I can do for students. Yes, tuition and fees are expensive, but I want to give this money to someone who really needs it and help them.”
To train for this challenge, Heine gets up before dawn to run before he takes his children to school. In the past four weeks, he has run 237.6 miles and an average of 8.5 miles daily. His longest run was two weeks ago on Sunday. He ran 22.72 miles in three hours.
Emily Holguin, music theater sophomore, said she is impressed with what Heine is doing.
“He’s so funny and so sweet. He always goes above and beyond for other people,” she said. “If we need help in class, he always makes himself available and he even makes calendars to work around our schedule,” she said.
Anyone is welcome to donate to the scholarship.
“What people don’t realize is that even 10 cents a mile really adds up. A quote that has really stuck with me is that ‘little by little, a little becomes a lot,’” Heine said.
For more information on the scholarship and to make a donation or a pledge, go to www.okcu.edu/endurancechallenge or email Heine at email@example.com.