Merritt man plans to run 100 miles in less than 24 hours to raise money for food bank

Darius Sam was looking to push his running limits and turn his sweat into something productive for his hometown.

The 19-year-old Merritt man started his search for a charitable organization in May at the Nicola Valley Food Bank.

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“The lineup was down the street and I asked this one lady how she was doing and she pretty much told me she was starving,” Sam said. “She was in a wheelchair and she was really hungry. I knew I had to do something.”

Sam will attempt to run 100 miles (161 kilometres) in less than 24 hours, starting at noon on June 13 from the Nicola Lake rest point. The trek will take him to Spences Bridge and back.

“He literally just came off the sidewalk and into the food bank and asked to speak with me,” Nicola Valley Food Bank general manager Derlanda Hewton said. “It was all his initiative.

“For somebody his age to want to do that on our behalf, it was an amazing feeling.”

Sam started a GoFundMe page — Nicola Valley Food Bank Fundraiser — on May 18, with a goal of raising $1,000.

“We smashed that,” Sam said. “We’re at $3,000 now and shooting for $5,000. It’s surreal. It gets me a bit emotional.”

The total was $4,585 as of Monday, June 1.

Hewton said the money will help seniors, children from the school district and the SPCA, among others.

“COVID has been a very difficulty time for everyone, but it’s really brought out the best in our community,” said Hewton, noting the Nicola Valley Food Bank is in a financially stable position. “How ironic is that? It’s amazing to have the support.”

Sam will have a friend trailing him in a vehicle and expects heat may be his No. 1 obstacle.

Sustenance will include dry packs of oatmeal, washed down with water, and Clif gels.

“I just want to take my fitness to the next level and see what I’m capable of,” Sam said.

Sam tested his mettle last month with a five-kilometre swim, 180-kilometre bike ride and 42-kilometre run.

“It was a self-made Ironman triathlon,” he said. “It went well. It was pretty tough. I tested myself mentally, physically, pushed myself to my limit and got it done.”

He expects a similar challenge next month.

“It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be gross and the body is going to take a pounding,” Sam said. “I’ll have a lot of fun.”

Hewton backed Sam to complete his mission.

“I wouldn’t put it past him,” Hewton said. “He’s dedicated, he’s got the drive and everybody notices him around town now doing his training.

“People are very proud.”

Hewton said in-person donations at the food bank for Sam’s run total about $600 and the Merritt Return-It Depot is accepting bottles and cans on his behalf.

© Kamloops This Week


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