Runner passes through Sanpete with message about refugee education

Andre Belibi Eloumou stands in front of the south entrance sign to Manti City as he passed through town on his journey to run coast-to-coast to raise awareness for education of refugee children.

Runner passes through Sanpete with

message about refugee education


By Robert Stevens 

Managing editor



MANTI—A man running from Brooklyn, N.Y. to Santa Monica, Calif. passed through Sanpete County this week, trying to run his way to a better world.

Andre Belibi Eloumou runs 33 miles a day, every day, for eight hours with the goal of running coast-to-coast.

The trek will take him five months, and having started in Brooklyn, he is nearing his goal.

The reason for the journey, says Eloumou, is to raise awareness for child refugees in need of education. In the 1970s, his father left central Africa with only $50 to his name with hopes of finding success and happiness in life. After a long and dangerous journey, he settled in France.

Now Eloumou is honoring his father’s journey with one of his own, hoping to spread a message of tolerance and gratitude.

“I am doing this to raise awareness for the education needs of refugee children,” Eloumou says. “But it’s also a tribute to the spirit of all pioneers. On the way I want to spread a message of peace, and to do my part to eradicate hatred, racism and ignorance. ”

He started out first with only a backpack to carry his belongings, and eventually got a stroller to push in front of him. In Topeka, Kansas, Eloumou met Phil Skow at a church fireside. Skow now travels behind him in his van, covered in stickers that say www.andrerunusa.com.

“Coming through Wyoming in February it is very cold,” he says. “I am glad to have him with me.”

Eloumou makes stops on his journey to speak at firesides or schools. He hopes to carry on after the cross country trip doing motivational speaking.