Sunburnt Athletics and two very special runners are preparing to stage a fundraiser for Rady Children's Hospital in quite a unique way.
Starting at 6 a.m. Dec. 21 at Hospitality Point, Eric and Cecilia Meech of La Jolla plan to start running and not stop for 24 hours. The two ultra-marathoners hope to raise money and toys for the children at Rady, and provide some fun for patients and their families along the way.
Sunburnt Athletics will host the first annual 24 Hour Trot for Tots, a run around a one-mile loop. All funds generated will go to the hospital. Donations will be accepted per mile, per marathon, per hour or flat rate.
There will also be a Guess the Miles contest for prizes, with guesses $5 each. Eric and several of the event organizers are City of San Diego Lifeguards, so and the SD Lifeguard Association will be there not only to support the run, but also to give tours of lifeguard headquarters. Visitors will be invited to take a look at some of the specialized lifeguard equipment and see demonstrations.
This will not be Eric and Cecilia's first run side by side. They started running in April 2008 with the goal to complete the San Diego 100 in June 2009. That's a 100-mile trail race in Cuyamaca. Since the two are virtually inseparable during trail races and ultra-marathons, many runners know them as "the husband-and-wife-team." They have run marathons, 50K races, 50-mile trail races, and countless miles of training on the trails and the road, all side by side.
"From the beginning our goal was to run the 100 miles, mile for mile together, but we soon came to realize that we like staying together to support and encourage one another, so we have run all our races side-by-side, " said Cecelia. "It has brought us closer as a couple and has strengthened our relationship and understanding of each other. We have experienced high and low points, we have laughed, cried and argued out on the trails, and we have solved many problems along our way."
Eric, a fourth-generation San Diegan, said the inspiration for the run, came from wanting to help Rady Hospital after seeing the role staff had in saving a co-worker's son's life.
Sunburnt Athletics and the Meechs hope to gather 248 new, unwrapped toys, one toy per bed at the hospital, and $5,000 — all while running at least 104.8 miles in 24 hours. That is four strait marathons. The run will also act as an informal holiday gathering for the San Diego ultra running population.
"The growing community of runners who go past the marathon limit is one of the kindest and most welcoming groups of people around," Eric said.
— Kevin Smoker
About Sunburnt Athletics
Founded in 2009, Sunburnt Athletics is a group of friends dedicated to using athletic challenges as a form of community building. It just finished a 12-mile trail run to support runners and disabled workers in Tanzania.
- On the Web: www.sunburntathletics.com