British Columbia

This Merritt man is running 161 kilometres in 24 hours to raise money for the local food bank

Darius Sam is running 161 kilometres in less than 24 hours on Saturday in support of the Nicola Valley Food Bank in Merritt, B.C.
Darius Sam has raised more than $6,700 for the Nicola Valley Food Bank by pledging to run 100 miles or 161 kilometres in 24 hours or less. (Submitted by Darius Sam)

Darius Sam is running 161 kilometres in less than 24 hours this Saturday in support of the Nicola Valley Food Bank in Merritt, B.C.

Sam, 19, wasn't always a community-minded person; in fact, he said until five months ago, he had a bad reputation in the Nicola Valley and had fallen in with the "wrong crowd." 

He made a New Year's resolution to turn his life around, so he turned to fitness as a way to maintain discipline, even though he says he hates running. 

"I don't know what clicked," he told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce.

"I just decided to change and I moved home and held myself accountable day in and day out. I think it was just self inspired. I had to pull that out of myself somehow and I'm still working today."

He felt that his fitness needed more of a purpose, so he and a friend brainstormed how he could use it to benefit the community. One morning, he stopped by the local food bank and saw a line of people waiting for it to open. 

Darius Sam has been training non-stop so he can run 161 kilometres in 24 hours to raise money for his local food bank. (Submitted by Darius Sam)

"I didn't know that that many people went to the food bank and they needed that assistance," he said.  "I asked [a] lady on a scooter how she was doing, and she said, 'I'm well but I'm really hungry.' That struck me in the heart."

He met with the Nicola Valley Food Bank's general manager, Derlanda Henton, who was thrilled to see initiative from such a young member of the community.

"I cannot believe that we have a young man, 19 years old, that is willing to do this on our [clients] behalf," Henton said. 

So far, Sam, his mother and Henton have raised more than $6,700 through bottle drives and online fundraisers.

"My heart is so overwhelmed," Henton said.

"Whether or not he is able to meet his goal, he has made a change here in Merritt. I have no words to say how thankful we are for his initiative and his determination to help our community in this way."

"It gets me a bit emotional," Sam added. "I never thought that I'd be where I am today and doing what I'm doing today. I'm soaking it all in and I'm having fun and I'm glad to be part of such a tight knit community that stands behind me."

With files from Daybreak Kamloops

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