Kalamazoo man attempting to run 100 marathons in 100 days for global water crisis

Posted at 11:28 PM, Oct 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-09 21:50:16-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Many people don’t even attempt a single marathon in their lifetime, but there’s a man in West Michigan whose dream reaches far beyond that.

Daren Wendell is planning on doing 100 marathons in 100 days, and he’s running to coast to coast to make that happen. However, he’s doing it for a mission that goes beyond himself.

Daren Wendell is taking ultra-marathon runner to a whole new level. He’s been training for 22 months, and he leaves from California on Jan. 1. Darren chose to run 100 marathons in 100 days because he says he had to do something big to capture people’s attention to raise awareness for the global water crisis.

It’s a true “Forrest Gump” story.

“Running across the country has only been done by about 150 people. One of my gifts is being an athlete, and I want to use that to help others in need,” said Wendell.

This national campaign of running from coast to coast in 100 days, has a flash mob marathon twist.

“We want to get people to actually come out and run with me. Run Daren Run has never been about looking at me run across the country. We want other people to reach their goals too,” said Wendell.

Wendell hopes to raise $100,000 to provide 25,000 people with clean, safe water in Ethiopia. Wendell has seen this crisis first-hand in his five trips to Africa.

“It’s the ripple effect. I mean there are free clinics over there that are giving people their malaria medicine, and then giving them dirty water to drink it with. You need that basic need first,” he said.

Wendell is co-founder of the nonprofit organization Active Water, a group of athletes who try to put an end to the 750 million people that don’t have access to clean water.

“We will be traveling from Santa Monica Pier in California, 100 days later end on April 10th in Times Square in New York,” he said.

Darren’s athletic resume is impressive, with 10 marathons, 9 half marathons, cross country bike rides, cross country walks, and a 50 mile swim across Lake Michigan, but nothing like 100 consecutive marathons.

Wendell will be burning about 7,000 calories a day, and go through a new pair of running shoes every 300 miles.  He says it’s as much of a mental game as it is physical.

“I try to actually zone out on my runs. I know when I run consecutive marathons, I try to compartmentalize the pain I feel,” he said.

Wendell says the awareness he’s trying to raise means much more than the dollar amount.

“The goal would be to get as much as we can out of it, to get people out there to run with me, and the more we can get out there about the water crisis. It's not all about money.”

As for how the cross country run will turn out, he turns to Forrest Gump’s philosophy: Life’s like a box of chocolates.

“You never know what you’re going to get…I love it,” Wendell says, laughing.

Wendell says he’s ahead of schedule for his training, and feels so good that he could leave tomorrow. He says the only way he would stop is if he gets injured.

If you would like to donate, or join in on his run click here.