Mark running 10M race in Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Mark Howell, Director of Technical Support for SSD, set a goal to run a 50K race in 2020. Covid-19 put a kink in those plans. But Mark found a way to follow through on his plans – a virtual race. Instead of running it all at once, he ran about 5.2 miles every four hours on May 31 until he reached 31 miles. He utilized the Facebook fundraiser function to set up the event. He accomplished his goal and raised $535 for SEF! He’s looking for his next challenge and thinks this will become an annual event. Thank you, Mark!

Because of Covid-19, most in-person races have been cancelled. The organizers have switched to a virtual model, which gives runners a period of time to complete a race. In fact, Mark is running a 1000K (621 miles!) now until the end of August. Mark has been running for about five years, competitively for the last two. He says he doesn’t race for the competition but to have a goal for his training.

When he decided to run the 50K, Mark thought it would be more gratifying if he could also help a local not-for-profit with his effort. At first he thought he might just donate his running fee directly to a beneficiary. But then he realized how easy Facebook makes organizing your own fundraising events. He discovered that the Foundation is on Facebook as a charity that can receive donations. So he chose SEF as the beneficiary of his run. Mark says, “I’m so humbled by the generosity people showed. I was worried that I wouldn’t raise even $100 for SEF.” Most donors were people he knew, but some were loose connections. One was a Twitter connection from Pennsylvania, and there were others from out of town.

In his job as SSD’s director of technical support, Mark has been extraordinarily busy during the disruption that Covid-19 has caused. He says, “There’s no normal ebb and flow in the work day. Problems usually fall into typical buckets, but now it’s all new. We’re making it up as we go along. I’m blessed with a great team in tech support. I just want to make sure that staff, students and parents – whoever is connected to SSD – is taken care of. Many people have experienced technological challenges in working and communicating remotely. And they’ve done an amazing job in adapting.”

To boost the amount Mark has raised, visit and select 50K as the type or donation. And if you’d like to raise money to help kids with disabilities maximize their education, visit and click on create a fundraiser. Mark says it’s easy!