On Saturday, June 13, 2020, in what some may consider failure, Darius Sam put the world on notice.
I am here.
I will make a difference.
And I refuse to allow anyone or anything stop me.
Regular readers may recall the story of Darius Sam – A Role Model for Our Time – the young man who came just short of his goal of running 100 miles in 24 hours to raise $14,000 for the Nicola Valley Food Bank this past June.
Despite a trip to the hospital for massive dehydration and exhaustion, Darius Sam returned to the tarmac to run the last two kilometers and cross the finish line. It was an astounding performance that left me and thousands of others speechless.
He only ran 90 miles but raised over $104,000 in the process.
On November 9, 2020, Darius Sam put the world on notice again when he announced he would run 100 miles in 24 hours on Saturday, December 5th in his ‘Run Against Addiction’.
“It’s not just addiction in substance abuse,’ Darius Sam told Merritt Herald reporter Morgan Hampton.
“Lots of people my age battle addiction with their cell phones and social media. A lot of young men battle addiction with pornography. There’s so many different things, food, alcohol. There are so many addictions out there and it’s taken over so many lives, and a lot of people have lost their purpose, lost their drive. A lot of great people have vanished in substance abuse.”
Darius will run the same route as he did last June, from the Nicola Lake boat launch to Spences Bridge and back, but this time in the bitter cold of the winter Nicola Valley winds.
“It will be tougher, it will be more challenging, but I’ve been training twice as hard,” said Sam.
I was blown away by this young man’s commitment despite barely training at all for his first 100 mile run, so I’m pleased to hear he is training harder for his December 5th run.
I reached out to Darius through Merritt Herald reporter Morgan Hampton and was delighted when he contacted me yesterday.
“My ultimate goal is to bring people together and break the silence about addiction,” Darius wrote.
“Obviously I would like to change lives, get people to realize how strong they really are, maybe I can turn people to sobriety. If I can just change one life my goal will be fulfilled.”
When asked how people can support him and his Run Against Addiction, Darius wrote:
I would first of all like to extend gratitude towards you for reaching out.
I am looking to make a splash again. You can share the story leading up to the run all over social media and you can come out on the day of my finish and cheer me on.
Make a sign on the day of my finish, rise against addiction, run against addiction. I am sure the mainstream media will be there, we have to make some noise. I am opening a door for those he need to be heard to be heard. Everyone has a voice.
In case you missed it, here’s a brief excerpt from my previous column about this amazing young man:
Here’s what I find so impressive about Darius Sam.
Nobody on earth would think poorly of him for quitting after running 90 miles. He was taken to the hospital suffering from exhaustion and massive dehydration, for crying out loud!
Quitting under those circumstances, in the world’s eyes, would be totally understandable, acceptable even.
But Darius Sam clearly doesn’t judge himself through the world’s eyes.
He judges himself through the eyes of the man who stares back at him in the mirror. And through those eyes, quitting is simply not an option.
Darius Sam didn’t stop when the going got really rough, like so many of us would.
He refused to stop just because it was difficult. Some things in life will always be difficult.
Darius Sam refused to stop when every fibre of his body demanded he quit. Darius Sam refused to quit even after his family drove him to the hospital.
Our true character is revealed, not when the going is easy, but when the going is so hard you think you’re going to die.
It’s in those moments we learn who we really are, and whether or not we value our own integrity and honour.
So I’ll ask again, Why did Darius Sam refuse to quit when his body failed him and all the odds were stacked against him?
I’ll let Darius answer that for himself.
“I’m not done yet.”
Despite the physical pain and anguish of keeping his commitment, Darius Sam said, while sitting in the hospital, “I came to the realization I needed to finish what I started regardless of the situation.”
He left the hospital.
He rejoined family and friends who continued in his absence and, with less than a mile to go to his finish line, Darius Sam rejoined his family and friends and kept on running.
“Never in my life have I ever stood for something like this. To see people come together like this, it’s unbelievable,” he said after crossing the finish line.
Darius Sam is an amazing young man – a true leader – who will do many astounding things in the years ahead while impacting our world in ways we can’t even imagine today.
I can’t wait to see what he does next.