Running With Purpose: 26 Marathons in 26 Days


Today’s inspiration comes from author, ESPY Winner, Nike Endurance Athlete and Founder of The NEVERSTOP Foundation, Jason Lester. This story is guaranteed to get you motivated for your next long run. Want to run with purpose? Run with Team LIVESTRONG in one of our many 2013 events. You won’t ever regret lacing up your shoes to help others fight cancer.


“Just because you’re alive doesn’t mean you’re LIVING.”
This is my personal journey to and through 26 Marathons in 26 Consecutive Days.

I had the most epic year of my career in 2012. I accomplished every goal I set out to accomplish…I stayed healthy, loved many, and inspired and was inspired by thousands. However, none of this matters unless I can use my gifts to inspire others that There Are No Limits in Life.

From March 19th to July 1st with my sponsor Nike and an amazing support crew, I ran 1,000 miles and biked 4,000 miles across the United States through 16 states in 102 days visiting 39 Nike stores. This event was called Journey for a Better World and it relayed the message that Sports Changes Lives. My average run a day was 30 miles and the days I was not running, I biked an average of 80 miles. We did this continuously day after day and I had a lot of time to think out there on the road, and most of my thoughts were about how could I use this to inspire others to find their purpose, live their dreams, and LIVESTRONG.

After returning back to Hawaii from the Journey, I ran one big victory lap around the Big Island going 230 miles in 5 1/2 days. At this time, I felt strong and this had always been on my bucket list of things to do. This past October, there was EPIC5, which consists of 5 Iron distance triathlons on 5 Hawaiian Islands in 5 consecutive days. At the end of November, I ran the EPIC100 Ultra Marathon from the Kailua Pier to the top of Mauna Kea traveling 100 miles and climbing 16,000 feet and my last event of the year was supposed to be the 3PICMAN® Challenge, a triple Ironman distance triathlon that is non-stop on the island of Oahu. As I was running EPIC100 my chief Dave Carlsson started to tell me about this vision he had to run 26 marathons in 26 consecutive days to help bring awareness to his newly launched brand Hawaii Running Project. I was inspired by his vision and started to think about how this event could be used to better serve Honolulu’s local community where Dave resides. I shared with Dave that I had an interest in doing the 26X26 event with him if he was willing to allow me to share my vision of how we could serve the community by feeding the homeless in the area.


This is how the 26X26 project was born and grew into an event where we fed the hungry from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm each day and followed this with a 26.2 mile run from December 1st until December 26th. We also partnered up with a local organization, Aloha Harvest, who donated food twice a week to the cause. For the other 5 days of the week, donations by individuals from all over the United States were used to purchase food, and anywhere between 30-75 people were served daily, totaling over 1,000 people in 26 days. On December 24th, there was a Christmas Eve feast in the park, which drew over 60 people. On the day of Christmas, over 75 people were fed and received Christmas gifts. Many of the adults asked for children’s gifts, so they could then give the gift to their child/children or grandchild/grandchildren. All were happy and eager to receive a little token of Christmas spirit. These individuals without a home were more concerned about having a gift to give a loved one then they were concerned about having something for themselves. It is very easy to pass on love, support and encouragement. Whatever forms the spirit of inspiration comes in…a gift, a smile, or 26 marathons, do something good with it and always remember that it is not about you.

People wonder how is it possible to run 26 Marathons in 26 Consecutive days totaling 681 miles and my response is this…when you take the focus off of yourself and turn the focus toward others that are more in need than you, then anything is possible. My definition of LIVESTRONG is to use your gifts to inspire others. We are all fighters by nature. We all have challenges, some are more visible than others and some are more internal or spiritual. We are all seeking to find peace and happiness, and I find my peace and fulfillment in helping others use their gifts to find a purpose in life. I dedicated day 25 to the 28 million battling cancer today…making 26X26 bigger than me.

Two days after 26X26, I competed in the 3PICMAN® Challenge and finished the triple iron distance triathlon in 51hrs non-stop without any sleep. I did this event in honor, respect, and to bring awareness to the 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary. All of the funds raised through this event went to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund/United Way of Western Connecticut.

Today is a new day; it is the New Year and a fresh start. No one in the world cares what you accomplish in life except you…your ego and your pride. Always remember this: YOU are not defined by your accomplishments. You are not an Ironman, Ultraman, Epicman, or any other man if you aren’t helping others realize their human potential. Always pass on the spirit of LIVESTRONG and do something great with your individual talents and gifts, not for yourself, but for others. So go out and accomplish your goals this year, but make your accomplishments an outlet to benefit others and create a positive impact in the world around you.

Make 2013 the year where you do not tell others what you are going to do…Just Do It. How much are you willing to sacrifice? How bad do you want it? Stay hungry, cut out all the distractions, create a plan, and do not sleep until you accomplish your goals…you have a chance to be like no other.

How will you LIVESTRONG in 2013 while inspiring others?


Jason Lester

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