Scotch Plains Native Plans to Run a 52 Marathons in 52 Days

July 24, 2022
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Scotch Plains native and endurance athlete James Leitner will begin running one marathon a day for 52 days, starting on June 1, to call attention to clean water issues in the U.S. His goal is to raise $100,000 for his non-profit, MissionCleanWater. Each day he will travel to different towns, trails, and iconic locations to complete each of his marathons.

“I have found endurance challenges as the best way to symbolize long walks for people to get water,” Leitner. “If a five-year-old can walk three to five miles a day to find water for her family, I can symbolize her journey running to change her future.”

From training, to nutrition, to proper planning, Leitner is no stranger to endurance challenges.

“Being a nonprofit entrepreneur is a significant challenge, and I am reliant on what I can get,” Leitner said. “I am thankful to have some good soup kitchens that provide groceries and no longer need to ‘dumpster dive’ since friends at Trader Joe’s keep me connected.”

“My nutrition relies on what I can get. I am able to maintain a great level of antioxidant and protein intake for recovery while consuming decent carbs to keep my body fueled,” he added.

Previously, Leitner has run 30 miles every day for 30 days, walked 100 miles in 36 hours carrying 45 lb. of water, and walked 3,250 miles from New York to San Francisco, pulling 10 gallons of water the entire way.

Leitner will be doing marathons throughout several towns, including, Scotch Plains, Westfield, Chatham, Berkley Heights, and South Mountain Reservation in West Orange.

All of his efforts are to fundraise for MissionCleanWater, a 501c3 nonprofit working to bring clean drinking water and sanitation to underserved communities in the USA and the rest of the world. To this date, the organization has helped over 15,000 people gain access to clean water, including communities and schools. If Leitner can reach his $100,000 fundraising goal, this will complete a clean water project for two communities, two schools, and a hospital in Uganda. Accomplishing the fundraiser will also create clean water solutions for people in Paterson and Newark.

“Since I am someone that lives with clean water, I hope to be able to use my drive and motivation to help others,” Leitner said. “It’s ridiculous to me that so many people live without a basic necessity. As time goes on, even more people will live without clean water, and a solution needs to be created. I will help connect the right people to create those solutions.”

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