The man who’s running seven ultramarathons on seven continents to build seven schools

Education funding

Joel Runyon says he just got tired living in a world of limits. He realised he “wanted to live a life where I did extraordinary things”.

So that’s exactly what the superfit American does. He has travelled to 17 countries on five continents. He has taken 41 people skydiving and more than 30 people bungee jumping.

And he raised $25,000 to build a school with Pencils of Promise, a non-profit that builds schools, trains teachers and funds scholarships in many countries. 

Now he is running a series of seven ultramarathons on seven continents to raise money to build seven schools. His adventure is titled The 777 Project and all the money raised will go directly to Pencils of Promise.

Joel with his medal after completing the Patagonia marathon in Chile

Joel, from San Diego, said: “After building a school with PoP in 2012, I wanted to do more. My entire life has changed since pursuing the edges of impossible. The 777 Project is an extension of that.”

Each run will have its own particular challenges, in terms of distance and terrain.

Joel said: “When I first signed up for it, I was terrified. It’s going to be dealing with a lot of different extremes.

“The goal is to build seven schools at about $25,000 each. If we can make a small dent in making education possible for these kids then that’s all worth it.”

Joel has already completed the first race – the 31 mile-long Patagonia International Marathon in Chile. It was a marathon effort just to get to the starting line. Forty-four hours of travelling on three flights, three buses, a train, a shuttle, a taxi, a van and a truck.

The other six ultramarathons are:

Ice Marathon 100k, Antarctica – 62 miles

The Kepler Challenge, New Zealand – 37 miles

The Everest Ultra, Nepal – 40 miles

The Comrades Ultra Marathon, South Africa – 56 miles

Lavaredo Ultra Trail, Italy – 73 miles

Leadville Ultra Marathon, USA – 100 miles

You can learn more about The 777 Project and donate here.

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