Daren Wendell, a 33 year-old endurance athlete from Michigan, is running 100 marathons in 100 days to raise $100,000 for clean water in Ethiopia. He started in Santa Monica and is now about two weeks away from the finish line: New York’s Times Square. As of mile 2,250, just outside of Cambridge, Ohio, we checked in to ask, how’s it going? “It all depends on when you ask me,” he says. “One day, it’s sunny outside, and it’s really exciting. The next day, it’s 40 degrees and raining, and I’d say this is probably one of the most miserable days on the run.”
For 86 straight days and counting, Wendell has run from 7am until 3pm, and then eaten as much of whatever he wants (According to his blog, “Eating healthy isn’t my top priority; eating ENOUGH is my priority”). He’s in bed by 7pm every night. “It’s kind of like Groundhog Day,” he says. “Recovery for me is just getting the sleep I need, and sticking to a schedule while I’m out here.”
Early on, he ran 15 miles through the Arizona desert, where “everything has a spike.” In Oklahoma, he wandered onto the grounds of an abandoned insane asylum, and a security guard picked him up. “I had to explain to the guard that I really am running across the country,” says Wendell. “He didn’t buy it at first.” In a number of spots locals have come out to jog alongside him. One woman stopped her van on the side of the highway to give him $20. “It was one of those moments that restores your faith in humanity,” he says.
A decade ago, Wendell broke his tibia in a soccer accident, and his doctor mended the fracture with a Stryker T2 nail, a hunk of medal as long as his shin bone that’s still in there. The nail has held up hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail, swimming across Lake Michigan, and now running across the country. “I’ve been pounding 45,000 steps a day on it,” Wendell says. “And I have no pain whatsoever.”