A Cardiff man will run nearly 300 miles in Greece next month to raise awareness and funds for charity.
Lance Cummings, 57, is running with nearly 20 athletes from all over the United States and Europe on the 300 of Sparta Endurance Run. The eight-day venture through rugged terrain, beginning May 7, essentially replicates the Spartan soldiers’ journey from Athens to Thermopylae nearly 2,000 years ago.
“This is an iconic location that changed the history of the world and the course of the world,” Cummings said. “It’s also a challenge, and I wanted to initially do it as a challenge, but then came upon the idea of making it a give-back challenge to raise money for specific charities.”
During the event — which tackles 30 miles for each of the eight days, culminating to about 250 miles — Cummings is raising money for the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation. The organization is named for the former Navy SEAL from Encinitas who was killed in 2012 during a terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Money raised will also support the Navy SEALs Foundation.
Both charities offer scholarships for SEALs who transition from military to civilian life and also offer support for the families of members who are overseas and “fighting basically the same war that the Spartans were fighting almost 2,000 years ago,” said Cummings, a Navy SEAL veteran.
“We want to raise awareness that there are soldiers on the frontline every day who are sacrificing a lot,” he said.
Sean Lake, who is on the board of directors with the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation, said he is grateful for Cummings’ support.
“It means the world to me and the [Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation] to have folks like Lance go out beyond their comfort zone and put out an effort like this in order to help others,” Lake said. “As a former SEAL, Lance knows all too well the struggles that some special operations soldiers face in transitioning to civilian life. We couldn’t be more honored to see Lance and his team march across Greece in order to help others.”
Cummings said he has been training for nearly nine months, usually running about 125 miles per week and hiking with 35-pound bags and his dog.
The hikes mimic the mountainous terrain the athletes will be traveling along in Greece, he said.
Cummings has also participated in the Bike for Mike for ALS event earlier this year and has bicycled 525 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the California Coastal Classic, which raises money and awareness for arthritis.
He said he enjoys giving back while pushing himself.
“This is a way to give back,” Cummings said. “I think the culminating effect for this whole event was that everyone is going to get in shape doing it, but we’re going to impact thousands of other people just with the funds we are raising. It’s about leaving the world in a better place than it was in when you got here.”
An online auction is currently raising funds for the Sparta 300 through April 22. Items such as custom-made guitars and surfboards are available at www.32auctions.com/sparta300. For more information about the march, visit www.300ofsparta.com