Darius Sam, the young man from Merritt who pledged to run 100 miles in 24 hours to raise money for his local food bank, will be throwing on his running shoes and hitting the road yet again.
Sam raised over $110,000 for the Nicola Valley Food Bank in June after his mission caught widespread media and public attention.
“My original goal last time was only $1,000, so to jump to $110,000 was pretty surreal,” he said. “It made a huge impact down at the food bank, I couldn’t be happier with what it did for the people.”
However, this time the 20-year-old Merritt man will be running for a different cause.
Sam won’t be raising money this time around but rather awareness. The 20-year-old is dubbing this run as “the Run Against Addiction” — a cause that hits close to home for him.
“I grew up in an adopted home because of addiction, I’ve lost a few family members to addiction, I’ve lost friendships… and I’m sure a lot of people can relate,” he said. “Every person I know at least knows one person that’s in addiction and it affects them in some way.”
Sam hopes to shed light on the many different forms of addiction that can take over a life, rather than simply focus on drug and alcohol addiction.
“Whether it’s food, alcohol, pornography, social media or a handful of other things used to escape reality, addiction is everywhere and has taken over so many lives,” he said.
“A huge one I want to address is excess time on social media. A lot of young people don’t realize that’s an addiction and it can be very destructive.”
Sam hopes his run will help change the narrative and stigmas surrounding addiction.
“A lot of very beautiful souls and very beautiful people have been lost in addiction and I’d like for people to realize that people just like you and me can get caught in the wrong place.”
Sam is determined to reach the 100-mile mark in 24 hours after his previous run in June was cut short at the 89-mile mark.
“I ran into some complications last time where I don’t think I trained as hard I could have, ultimately I didn’t end up finishing the full 100,” Sam said. “I knew I had to come back and face it.”
Sam admitted that running 100 miles in 24 hours was a bigger challenge than he had anticipated. The mental and physical anguish was ultimately more than he was prepared for.
“It gets to a point where it’s so easy to pack it in, it’s such a mental battle with yourself because you’re hurt, doing this hurts. Your whole body is just shocked really.
“I think the hardest part is just keeping one foot going after the other.”
Sam ended up running for 29 hours in his last attempt. After a trip to the hospital, his mother convinced him to shut it down.
This time, however, Sam feels more prepared — physically and mentally.
“I went into it (last attempt) pretty ignorant to everything… I didn’t know much about nutrition and how to fuel my body when approaching something like that,” Sam said. “I’ve learned a lot in the last few months and there were a lot of flaws in my game plan going into the last one.”
Sam has been training for this run for over two months, putting in “serious weeks” where he runs a minimum of 40 up to 100 miles (160 kilometres) per week.
Sam thinks his new training regimen along with a stronger dedication to nutrition and allowing his body recovery time will ultimately make the difference in his second attempt at 100 miles in 24 hours.
Sam had little running experience prior to his first attempt. Despite vigorous training leading up to the run, his goal still seemed ambitious for a relatively new runner.
Other than the mental battle that occurs when attempting to run 100 miles in 24 hours, Sam anticipates that weather might be his biggest challenge this time around.
He plans to start the run on Dec. 5, snow and cold temperatures may be inevitable. “I don’t know what mother nature has in store for me but it’s happening Dec. 5 regardless of anything that’s going on.”