Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.People all over the country are coming up with creative, unique ways to help others as we continue to navigate our way through the ongoing pandemic.
In New Brunswick, N.J., Rachel Belmont, a nursing student at Rutgers University, saw an opportunity to take three of her passions; running, skydiving, and nursing, and bring them together to do something positive.
On May 16, the 23-year-old ran 100 miles on a treadmill as family and friends cheered her on virtually and donated money that would be used to purchase masks for health care workers.
“That was kind of one of my main missions, you know, to raise a lot of money, but to also bring together all these really incredible communities that I love for a fun, engaging event to just kind of get people's minds off of the dismal situation going on right now,” Belmont told FeedLine.net.
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The seasoned ultra-runner signed up for a virtual 100-mile race after canceling her plans to run the Habanero Hundred in Texas this summer due to the coronavirus.
Realizing that this is a time of great need, she came up with the idea to incorporate a fundraising aspect to her race. She partnered up with LiquidSky Sports, a skydiving jumpsuit and gear company that started producing masks to help with the COVID-19 relief effort. For every $20 raised, Belmont would receive two masks, one purchased and one donated by the company.
She began her race at 6:00 a.m. and completed the hundredth mile almost a full 24 hours later. Rachel live-streamed the entire run on Facebook and was constantly interacting with friends and encouraging those watching to donate. Although Belmont has successfully finished two 100-mile races in the past, she said the run was still incredibly grueling both mentally and physically.
“It really starts to break you down mentally, I would say about mile 60 to 70 in," she said. "I mean the last 30 miles for me were such a struggle."
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Belmont says the lack of scenery and the narrow running path took a big toll on her too. Although there were moments she seriously considered quitting, she was ultimately able to push through due to the support of loved ones and keeping the bigger picture in mind.
“Just knowing that all these people were here supporting me... and thinking about everything I've donated, [ everything] I've raised so far, it just really motivated me to keep going and keep pushing.”
Together, she and her friend Michael Leonard who joined in the effort and biked 100 miles, have raised over $5,500, or 550 masks, which Belmont will distribute to nurses around the tri-state area.
When it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth," they say: "Why, we only want to make peace!"Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realize (it) not.When it is said to them: "Believe as the others believe:" They say: "Shall we believe as the fools believe?" Nay, of a surety they are the fools, but they do not know. (The Cow 11-13 )