Jesse’s 200 mile run will raise money for CHOC Children’s. He hopes to inspire others to pursue healthy lives. Learn more about the ultramarathon runner who is inspired by the strength of CHOC patients.
Q: What inspired you to start this tradition?
A: I had always been a runner, but reading the book called Ultramarathon Man in my junior year of high school opened my eyes to longer distance running and I thought, “Wow I could do this!”
When I told my parents about my goal, they suggested doing it for charity. Having grown up in Orange County I knew about CHOC Children’s, but I had never needed treatment here. I did some research and got to learn more about what CHOC did for kids in the community, and all the wonderful things that happen there, and I decided to raise money for CHOC via this run.
Before that I had only run 15-20 miles at a time. I figured if other people were doing it, why couldn’t I?
I completed it in 23 hours and raised $7,000 for CHOC. I had a desire to run far and help people, and I’ve been lucky to be healthy and able to run. But I know there’s many kids out there who maybe want to run, but can’t. I feel like it’s my responsibility to help.
Q: What inspired you to double the distance of your first run?
A: This will be third attempt at ultramarathon running. After the first run, I decided I wanted to do it again but run farther, raising even more awareness and funds for CHOC.
In January 2007, I set out to run 200 miles and raise $20,000 for CHOC. At 20 or so miles, my legs just didn’t feel right. At about 89 miles, I changed my route and moved to a track to help my legs. After another 30 miles my temperature started to drop and by that point I had been running over 30 hours continuously. My crew sat me down at mile 124 and said it was time to stop. Crew sat him down at mile 124 and said it was time to stop.
I had promised CHOC two things- I accomplished my primary goal of raising money, shattering my goal by raising $50,000.But I never finished that 200 miles. I always knew I wanted to attempt it again, but never knew the right time.
It’s been 10 years since I first attempted my 200-mile run. In the past decade I’ve gone to school, started working, gotten married, and I have a son on the way. I decided this was the right time.
After that failed run I was devastated. I thought I left everyone down. It took me awhile to realize I did not fail. There’s no guarantee I will finish this 200 miles, but if I don’t, I will attempt again.
Q: How do you train for such an intense physical challenge?
A: I try to run every night after work for an hour or two, and save my long training runs of up to 100 miles for the weekend. My goal is to finish the 200 mile route in 48-60 hours nonstop. I do have to stop and obey traffic laws, but I hydrate and eat power bars, energy bites and granola bars on the route. In some food there is caffeine to help me stay awake. It’s all a mental game. The first 50 miles is physical and the rest is mental.
My crew is made up of family and friends who ride in an RV alongside me. Some friends take shifts running with me to keep me awake and make sure I’m feeling healthy.
Q: What inspires you about the patients and doctors at CHOC?
A: I’m inspired by the patients at CHOC. They are my motivation for doing this. I fight for 48-60 hours on this run, but they can be fighting for their lives. Running such a long distance is painful and it hurts at times, but they pain can last longer.
I don’t make a lot of money, but I can use my abilities to help these kids. I want to help people understand that they don’t have to go out there and run 200 miles. Just do the little things you can do to make your community better – especially younger kids.