The heart of Gannon University’s education is to pursue passion while giving back to others. Gannon University prides itself in its current students and alumni that carry out this theme. One particular alumnus, Vanessa Niemeyer, deserves recognition for her unique and honorary service.

Vanessa Niemeyer, a DPT alumnus has been chosen as one of 15 individuals selected in the United States to run in the Bali Ultra Marathon! This is 52 miles in 24 hours. The purpose of this marathon is a fundraiser for Classrooms of Hope, a group raising funds for Bali children.

Vanessa has been a committed runner for many years. She is currently employed in Erie at Advanced Rehab Services as a physical therapist, but is pursuing her passion of running for the greater good.

Vanessa was extremely excited to share her story. She expressed that she is currently running about 45 miles per week. Each week the mileage will increase roughly 3-4 miles, and each week she does 2 back to back long runs (a minimum of 13 miles each day. 1 on Saturday and 1 on Sunday), 1 medium run (6 – 9 miles) and 1 short run (3-5 miles). Furthermore, she also lifts (2 days for lower body and 1 day for core/ trunk).” For more information on her training, check out her fitness blog:

When asked what the event meant to her personally, Vanessa commented, “[After] having graduated from Gannon, I truly can appreciate all that an education can do for an individual. I want to give these kids (the 100 being sent to school with these funds collectively collected by the 15 runners) the same opportunities that I have been given. Children are the future. This education means food, water and shelter for the kids and their families! This allows the kids to form relationships with peers and to grow up with a better chance to do well!  Education inequality exists and I want to help eliminate it!”.

Vanessa represents her profession, her dedication to Gannon University, and her commitment to the Bali community while pursuing a passion of hers. The race is May 26, 2018. If you would like to donate to this cause, check out her fundraising link here.