Darius Sam wasn’t going to let a little thing like a trip to the hospital for dehydration and exhaustion stop him from completing a charity ultramarathon.
The 19-year-old man from Merritt was attempting to run 161 kilometres in 24 hours, raising money for the Nicola Valley and District Food Bank.
About 20 kilometres from the finish line, Sam collapsed and was rushed to hospital.
“He was fully coherent the entire way … even coming into the hospital,” said friend Ryan Mann.
Sam later checked himself out of the Merritt hospital and was back on the road. He reconnected with his support crew, which had continued to run in his absence, and resumed the trek just a few kilometres from the finish line. They ended the run together.
“He literally gave it all he had, he did 90 miles in 27 hours, which is just — it’s extremely impressive,” Mann said.
The event has raised more than $30,000 — far beyond Sam’s initial goal of $5,000.
The young man said he had no illusions about the scale of the challenge, telling Global News prior to the run: “I know it’s going to be tough.”
He said he committed to the project after reflecting on a recent troubled patch.
“About five months ago and previous to that, I was out partying, drinking — nothing wrong with that, but it was just excessive and I was indulging in it, which was negative. I decided to tighten up. I moved home, set goals and decided to make myself accountable,” Sam said.
“There are people out there who are struggling. Me sleeping in my bed every night with a full stomach, it made me feel privileged, it didn’t make me feel too good, so I knew I had to do something about it.”
Sam approached his local food bank, hoping to help members of his community who have been hard hit by COVID-19.
The offer caught the organization by surprise.
“He wanted to do a marathon — an amazing young man — and I said yes, we would accept a donation on your behalf,” said Derlanda Hewton with the food bank.
“From there, it … spread like wildfire.”