Marathoner Bryce Matteson, whose goal is to run 50 marathons by the end of the year, will be running in the Eversource Hartford Marathon on October 15 to help raise money for clean water, according to a press release from Healing Waters International, a Christian nonprofit and charity.
Matteson, 30 from Denver, Colorado, has been a runner his whole life and ran in college. In 2016, his brother convinced him to run a marathon.
“Running has always been a major part of my life,” Matteson said. “So I did some research to see if (running one marathon a week) was possible to do.”
Matteson is running for Run5050. He is running one marathon a week, covering every state, to fund 50 clean water projects.
Run5050 was founded by Matteson in partnership with Healing Waters, which implements water filtration systems into areas that do not have access to safe and clean water, according to Healing Waters International.
Matteson and his wife Jessie had gone on trips in the past as photographers with Healing Waters, and were familiar with the operations side of the organization. Matteson wanted to merge his ability to run and Healing Waters’ cause together, he said.
“[Healing Waters’] model is amazing and the impact they have on saving lives is something I wanted to be part of,” Matteson said. “[What I’m doing] is challenging but possible and this is a worthy cause.”
Matteson’s goal in partnership with Healing Waters is to be able to fund 50 clean water projects, amounting to a $750,000 goal. He has currently raised about $60,000 and hopes to have raised $100,000 by the time he runs in Connecticut on Oct. 13 in the Hartford Marathon, Matteson said.
“The technology and implementation process is there, you just need finances to make that happen,” Matteson said. “Awareness is only as good as taking action.”
The money raised so far has come from direct donations, people who have signed up to fundraise and run alongside Matteson and an auction Run5050 hosted, Matteson said.
Matteson said he felt like he was at a stage in his life where he could put some things on hold and do something to help others. He quit his job as a FedEx driver knowing things would be financially different this year.
“It’s worth it to put making money on hold for a year in order to help as many people as we could,” Matteson said.
Matteson picked up a part-time flexible job and also has some small local sponsors that help him financially. Clothing companies Rhone and Bonfire are helping cover the cost of his travel to a marathon in Haiti. He began training in June 2017, which includes eating healthy, foam rolling and stretching, Matteson said.
Matteson said a lot of his marathons are weekend trips, and he returns back to his home in Denver, CO during the week. Some states are just a random run, as opposed to an organized marathon, for scheduling purposes, Matteson said.
“It’s a lot more than I anticipated, especially with the scheduling aspect,” Matteson said. “It was a big puzzle trying to figure that out.”
Matteson has run 35 marathons and has 15 left to go. His body has gotten stronger and is handling all the running better than he thought it would, he said.
“I’m at the point where I see the finish line,” Matteson said. “With my stretching and foam rolling regimen in place, I don’t see any reason that I won’t be able to finish.”
Matteson said he doesn’t have much of a routine and that most of his preparation is done a week before the marathon. This includes staying hydrated, stretching and being in tune with his body.
“I eat healthy, but so much of it is mental,” Matteson said.
Matteson said his experiences so far have put things into perspective, and made him content and grateful.
“Mile 20 [is] when [my body] starts hurting, it’s easier to push through knowing how fortunate you are,” Matteson said. “Nothing is harder than when you don’t have safe water.”
After his 50 marathons are over, he hopes to keep the campaign alive.
“Hopefully people can run or bike to continue to raise money for clean water,” Matteson said.
He encourages people to use what they are interested in to make a difference.
“When you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, it softens your heart,” Matteson said. “Anybody can make an impact, this is just my way.”
Ashley Anglisano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.