You may never have heard the name Peter Makredes before, but by the time this article is over, it is likely to be a name you won’t quickly forget. He went to a Las Vegas park on Memorial Day weekend with a cooler full of drinks and food.
It was a scenario that you may be familiar with but he wasn’t there to have a barbecue, he was there to run. The food would end up being fuel for his efforts.
Many people went to Exploration Peak Park with their families to have a “normal” holiday weekend, but Makredes went there with a mission. He had 24 hours to run 100 miles and in doing so, he would raise money for veteran suicide prevention programs.
Reports from the Department of Veterans Affairs reported that in 2014, there was an average of 20 suicide deaths every day in veterans. Between 2008 and 2017, veteran suicide numbers were astonishingly high, with more than 6000 occurring every year.
“They did their job protecting us, now it is our job to protect them,” Makredes commented on his fundraising page. That page, hosted through Mission 22, a nonprofit that helps veterans with counseling, reads, “By sacrificing just twenty-four hours of my time I hope to raise awareness, support, and money for these heroes who are struggling right now.”
By the time Wednesday rolled around, Makredes had already raised about $16,000 through the fundraiser and the T-shirt sales were up to $1000. Thanks to his efforts, three veterans would be able to receive counseling treatment for an entire year.
The fundraising total continued to climb and by Thursday morning, it was close to $20,000 out of a goal of $25,000.
The run may not be going any longer but the online fundraiser continues through June 8. Makredes is going to continue with this run, making it a Memorial Day weekend tradition and he might even add additional miles.
Makredes has completed 24-hour runs before. Last year, he managed to go 88 miles, and the year before, he did 80 miles.
As a 28-year-young individual, he had plenty on hand to keep him fueled through the run. It included containers of pasta, banana sandwiches, and electrolyte drinks.
At 8:00 AM on Sunday morning, some of his friends, family members, and rugby teammates came out to cheer him on during the first lap around the park. Those laps continued through Sunday and into Monday morning. Eventually, he would run over 225 laps to reach his 100-mile goal. It was completed at just over the 24-hour mark, at 9 AM on Monday morning.
“I needed the number of miles to be super high so people would care about the cause,” Makredes said. “It also really tests me, my will power and pushes my body to the limits.”
There were times when people would run along with him for a lap. His family would pass snacks and freshwater to him as he crossed the start line. Sparklers were even held up at night to support the efforts he was making.
Makredes would change shoes about every 20 miles to help prevent blisters from forming.
“Twenty-four hours isn’t anything in the grand scheme of things,” Makredes told CNN on Tuesday, a day after completing the run. “I do this so I can make someone’s life better.”
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