Ultra-marathoner to run more than 100 miles for local nonprofit

Ultra runner Roy Wiegand starts off on his 100-mile, 30-hour run at Marketplace Park in Valencia on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

In 30 hours, Roy Wiegand hopes to run more than 100 miles—the equivalent of four marathons—to raise awareness and funds to fight against childhood cancer as part of his fourth annual “Roy’s Run for Christopher.”

All proceeds from the ultra-marathon run will benefit the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, a Santa Clarita nonprofit which assists children diagnosed with cancer and their families with various needs.

“For me running is fun, but at some point it becomes more of a challenge,” Wiegand said.  “I do think about these kids and why we are all out here and that kind of puts things in perspective for me.  These kids are battling for their lives and I’m running for the kids who can’t run.”

The Burbank resident began running charity ultra-marathons eight years ago when an Ethiopian visited his church in Glendale and talked about clean water needs in Ethiopia.

“It inspired me to get involved, our church organized a 100-mile bike ride and we did that for a couple years,” Wiegand said of his involvement with Lifewater International.  “One year I had this loony idea to try running it the next year, so that was the first time doing that kind of distance… then I really got hooked.”

Ultra runner Roy Wiegand prepares for his 100-mile, 30-hour run in an RV near Marketplace Park in Valencia on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Four years later, 12-year-old Christopher Wilke died from cholangiocarcinoma, rare cancer of bile duct, in March 2014.  Wilke was in the same Boy Scout troop, Troop 209 in Burbank, as Wiegand’s son.

“I heard about his story and the family’s loss so four years ago I started running for the Hoefflin Foundation, which was a great help to the Wilke family,” Wiegand said.

Ever since, Wiegand has completed the annual ultra-marathon to honor Wilke’s legacy and support other families facing similar situations.

“I think they [the Wilke family] really love it.  It’s their boy’s legacy; his life has been a positive and had a ripple effect and trying to help the kids that are currently battling cancer,” Wiegand said.  “In my neighborhood in Burbank there are 30 families that have kids in various stages of cancer.”

Through his partnership with the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, Wiegand hopes to raise money to fight childhood cancer and fund the foundation’s services like funeral expenses, cancer survivors’ college scholarships, grocery gift cards, gas gift cards, holiday baskets and hospital parking passes.

This year, Wiegand’s goal is to raise $13,100 for the foundation.  On a personal level, Wiegand hopes to complete 131 miles, or the equivalent of five marathons, during his 30-hour run.

“My plan is to go through and not stop very much,” he said.  “In the past, 24 hours is pretty doable with 100 miles.  I’m giving myself 30 hours this year because I’d like to run more… I like the challenge.”

The ultra-marathoner began his run Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. at Marketplace Park.  He will continue running in 10-mile loops through the city’s bike paseos until he finishes his ultra-marathon at 6 p.m. at Westfield Valencia Town Center.

“It’s our first time here in Santa Clarita in terms of holding the whole event here,” Wiegand said.  “MHF is located here in Santa Clarita… and we thought we’d try doing it all here this year.”

To donate to Roy’s Run for Christopher visit: https://roysrun2017.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1170894

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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