Darius Sam runs 160 km and raises more than $90,000 for Merritt food bank - InfoNews

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Darius Sam runs 160 km and raises more than $90,000 for Merritt food bank

After finishing a 160-kilometre marathon, despite a brief stint in the hospital, and raising more than $90,000 for the Nicola Valley Food Bank, Daruis Sam doesn’t think he’s a hero.
Image Credit: GOFUNDME / Darius Sam
June 19, 2020 - 3:30 PM

After finishing a 160-kilometre marathon, despite a brief stint in the hospital, and raising more than $90,000 for the Nicola Valley Food Bank, Daruis Sam doesn’t think he’s a hero.

“I just talked to the Premier of B.C. and honestly it’s crazy to me. I was just a kid who wanted to raise a few dollars for the food bank and now people are calling me a hero... The real heroes are those who volunteer their time down at the food bank. Those are the real heroes. Those are the people that inspire me to do better in everyday life,” Sam said.

Holding a triathlon-style event with a friend gave him the idea to run the 160 km from Nicola Lake along Highway 8 to Highway 1 which he finished Sunday, June 14.

The marathon and Sam’s story has gathered national media attention, and people flocked from across the Interior to support him during the race. Donations have been pouring into Sam’s GoFundMe page from across the country. His initial goal was to raise a $1,000.

After only a week’s worth of training, he completed the run in roughly 27 hours including the brief hospital visit roughly 15 km before the finish line when he collapsed due to exhaustion and dehydration.

He signed himself out of the hospital shortly afterwards and went back to the marathon. He said his mom was “freaking out.”

During the last few kilometres, he almost sprinted the entire way, forgetting about the pain, he said. A caravan of vehicles followed his journey.

“I just wanted people in the community to support our local food bank and I had no idea it was going to spread,” he said.

But his focus wasn’t on the community during the event, it was on completing the marathon.

And the 19-year-old doesn’t even like running.

“I never really have, it’s just kind of like a discipline thing. I just run to maintain discipline and just the fact that I don’t like it, makes me feel good after doing something I don’t like,” he said. “It’s a cleansing thing. In the 24 hours I got to think about my life, the choices I’m going to make in the future, my next moves… decisions that need to be made I was able to think about them for a long time.”

Sam was "super impressed" with the turnout and community support, he said.

Derlanda Hewton, general manager of the Nicola Valley Food Bank, was initially surprised when Sam approached her with his fundraising request, but after getting to know him, she isn’t surprised by how the fundraiser took off.

“His personality, he comes from a difficult time prior to this and he’s trying to overcome that and the whole community supports him. He’s just a real go-getter. He doesn’t let anything stop him,” she said. “The world needs more of this right now, he has a really good heart.”

The food bank has seen a 70 per cent increase in new clients during the COVID-19 pandemic and a 39 per cent increase of individuals served.

“We were at 5,200 people that we’ve (served) so far this year,” Hewton said.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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