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After a running career[1] across marathons, 50K, 50-mile, 100K, and 100-mile distance events over the past eleven years, I'm tackling the 200-mile distance at the Tahoe 200 from June 14-18 this year. 

It's a bit of a ridiculous, silly challenge. It's also completely wild that I have a privileged life living in a high-income country like the US that allows me to tackle such an adventure. 

Given all this, I have decided to fundraise for New Incentives through my training and build-up for the event. This is my PledgeIt donation page. I'm thankful to have the support of the folks at High Impact Athletes in putting my page together and thinking through my campaign. My goal is to raise $10,036 to support 650 children enrolling in New Incentive's vaccination program at a cost of $15.44 per infant[2].

I hope you can help promote my fundraising efforts or consider donating yourself! I'm posting on the Forum because it's a wild enough idea that perhaps I can bring some new folks into effective giving in the process.[3]

Me running with my pacer, Lin, in the overnight section of the Javelina 100 in October 2023 [Photo Credit: Scott Rokis]

Can I even finish?

The short answer: I think so!

I have attempted the 200-mile distance once before, at the Moab 240. I only made it about 120 miles before succumbing to the hotter-than-average 110°F heat in the canyons on the second day. Unfortunately, they last-minute swapped out the Tailwind electrolyte solution on course and replaced it with a non-vegan offering, which I wasn't willing to take. I ended up relying on salt pills instead, which wasn't enough. Even after losing my hearing in one ear due to electrolyte imbalance, I was determined to shoulder ahead. Unfortunately, when I stopped being able to keep food or liquids down, my pacer[4] physically carried me a mile into the next aid station, where I passed out and woke up in a van with the race crew. Understandably, they let me know they would be pulling me from the race.

So, I definitely "DNF'd" [Did Not Finish] that race, even though I took away a lot of important lessons from it.  I have since completed a number of challenging 100-mile ultramarathons, including:

I've otherwise completed Ironman Wisconsin, qualified for the Boston Marathon twice, backpacked around Wisconsin, biked, rock climbed, and generally feel that I am well-positioned as an endurance athlete to tackle this challenge in Lake Tahoe this June. 

Me near the start of the Javelina 100 [in the blue shirt] with my friend Dana [white boat hat] [Photo Credit: Scott Rokis]

I think I'm ready! To be clear, my only real goal is to complete the race. I would describe myself as a 'mid-pack' runner in the 200-mile distance, at best. I will be running alongside such professional legends as Courtney Dauwalter, who has notably attempted to break the course record at the Tahoe 200[7] by completing it in <48 hours. She also took the overall win[8] (for both men and women) in the Moab 240 in 2017. 

Regardless of how or when I finish the course, I'm excited for the journey of a lifetime this June. I love running and movement – it's one of my greatest passions. Combining it with a way to create impact for cost-effective charities is a bit of a dream, so here I go!

https://pledgeit.org/200-miles 

Me on a climb around mile 23 of the Javelina 100, as the heat of the desert started to roast us [Photo Credit: Scott Rokis]
  1. ^

    Ultrasignup Results - Note that Ultrasignup isn't integrated with every race, but it covers a good number of them. Notably, for example, I completed a 100K in zero-degree temperatures in northern Wisconsin called the Frozen Otter [now Frigid Fox] in January 2018, which isn't indicated in my Ultrasignup results.

  2. ^

    httpnumbers://www.newincentives.org/impact The cost per infant is $15.44, while vaccinating an infant against seven diseases costs around$155.

  3. ^

    Disclosure: I'm Managing Director at One for the World, where we work with students and young professionals to fundraise for impactful charities, including New Incentives. If you know anyone interested in setting up a chapter with us at an MBA program, law school, or company in the US or Canada, please send them here!

  4. ^

    https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/how-to-pace-an-ultrarunner.html - If you don't know what a pacer is, read this!

  5. ^

    Before UMTB bought it out!

  6. ^

    The photo in the link preview is from this race!

  7. ^

    This video is a really inspiring watch about Courtney's record-breaking Tahoe attempt in 2018: 

  8. ^

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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 12:31 PM

This is an absolutely staggering challenge - anyone who has ever run even a half marathon will know how long that feels, and this is tens of them back to back!

I also know as a former colleague how much effort Emma puts into training, getting up at 5am every day so she can be at her desk ready to go for 9am.

This may not be the type of fundraising EA usually does but a pledge of even $1 per mile could help to crowd in new donors who wouldn't give on a recurring basis to New Incentives. I really encourage promoting this campaign as HIA trials campaign fundraising through sport as a way to widen the base of effective donors.

I'd be curious to hear your or Emma's case for why it's notably higher impact for a forum reader to donate via the campaign rather than to New Incentives directly (if they're inclined to make the donation at all)

Nice question, I think there can be a higher impact for a few reasons. First I assume that if they donate directly it will be silent and have no multiplicative effect.

  1. When people see donations flowing in on social media it can encourage others to donate
  2. This is the kind of thing that's easy to help friends donate to "Hey, my friend is doing this massive run to help kids get vaccinated in Nigeria, do you think you could chip in a few dollars
  3. This might help raise awareness generally of NGOs like New Incentive which I'm fairly sure almost no of your non EA friends have heard of.

Of course none of these might happen as well, but I think its likely to tilt towards higher impact ;).

Yes, exactly! #2 was a big reason I thought to start this fundraiser. :)

Cool that you're doing this for such a good cause. Good luck!

Hey, thanks! I hope you're doing well - I didn't realize you were at CEA now. :)

Heartening to see another runner fundraising for an effective charity, I've been doing it for several years (standard marathons for now, with the next being Boston) and it's consistently encouraging how people are willing to donate once you combine emotional appeal with information on how to do good better. Skin in the game via extreme masochism helps too :D

Best of luck in Missouri and Nevada!

Thanks, Philippe! Good luck at Boston!! I wanted to do it this year, but it didn't work out with my schedule. 

Executive summary: The author, an experienced ultramarathon runner, is attempting to run 200 miles at the Tahoe 200 event in June to raise funds for New Incentive's vaccination program.

Key points:

  1. The author has an extensive background in ultramarathon running, including several 100-mile races, preparing them for the grueling 200-mile challenge.
  2. They previously attempted but did not finish a 200-mile race due to heat and electrolyte issues, providing valuable lessons.
  3. The author's goal is to raise $10,036 for New Incentives to support 650 children receiving vaccinations, at a highly cost-effective $15.44 per child.
  4. Despite the extreme difficulty, they are excited to combine their passion for running with effective altruism to create impact.
  5. The post provides context on the author's training, race experiences, and determination to finish the Tahoe 200 event.
  6. A donation link is included for readers to contribute and support the fundraising effort.

 

 

This comment was auto-generated by the EA Forum Team. Feel free to point out issues with this summary by replying to the comment, and contact us if you have feedback.

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