After an interaction with a woman waiting in a food bank line-up so long it was “down the street”, Darius Sam decided that he had to do something to help his community.
“She’s was in a wheelchair and I just asked her how she was doing and she pretty much told me she was starving,” said Sam. “She said ‘I’m well, but I’m really hungry.’
“That sold me on it right there. I was like, ‘man, I gotta do something.’”
The “something” that Sam decided on is an undertaking that most people would never consider.
The 19-year-old Merrit local has pledged to run 100 miles in 24 hours to raise money for Merritt’s Nicola Valley Food Bank.
May 27 marked just one month since Sam took up running.
The current world record for the fastest 100 miles belongs to American runner, Zach Bitter.
Bitter completed the gruelling trek in 11 hours, 19 minutes and 13 seconds, according to Runnersworld.com.
“I’ve looked it up, the mental anguish that you have to go through to run 100 miles in 24 hours is insane,” Sam said on the phone, from the side of the road, while taking a brief break from his training.
Sam created a GoFundMe campaign on May 19 with the goal of raising $5,000 for the Nicola Valley Food Bank. Once the $5,000 goal is met, Sam will attempt his long-distance run.
As of May 27 he had received over $3,000 in donations.
Sam has decided to give himself until June 13, 2020, to attempt the run if the goal is met before then.
On the day of the run, Sam said he doesn’t plan on sleeping until he’s hit the 100 mile mark.
“If I absolutely need to maybe (I’ll) pull over for a quick five to 10 minute, maybe 20 minute rest, maybe nap,” he said.
“I’m gonna really push myself, you know, see what I can do, see what my body can handle, see what my mind can handle.”
Sam, who has a background in power-lifting, has already made impressive progress with his running despite picking it up just a month ago. He recently ran five kilometres in under 17 minutes.
“I looked it up after and apparently that’s like really good,” he said.
Currently on employment insurance while in the process of joining the armed forces, Sam has been taken aback by the generosity of people’s donations, especially at a time when money is tight for so many.
“It means the world to me,” explained Sam. “For once in my life I stand for something. People don’t really understand how much this means to me and the support is just incredible.
He said the donations from people in the community and across the province have been surreal.
“It’s surreal to me, I couldn’t be more proud of our people,” said Sam.
“It’s unbelievable man,” he added. “I can’t really even summon the words to describe how it makes me feel. I get emotional, to be honest. It’s unreal.”