- Jayson Black, 28, ran a total of 681.2 miles to raise money for Three Square Food Bank
- He suffered a shin injury and a stress fracture during the challenge
- His goal is to raise awareness about hunger and motivate people to give back
When people want to give back to their community, they typically pull out their checkbooks.
Jayson Black decided to pull out his running shoes.
The 28-year-old IT consultant pledged to run 26.2 miles a day for 26 days -- a total of 681.2 miles -- to raise money and awareness for the Three Square Food Bank of Southern Nevada.
"My hopes are that people will see and hear about this epic mission and open their eyes a little bit," Black said on day eight of his challenge. "Las Vegas isn't all about the sparkling lights and big hotels and casinos. In the shadows and down the alleys that surround the Strip, people are hungry."
Black first came to CNN's attention through longtime iReporter Chris Morrow, who was in Las Vegas and read about his campaign.
Black spent Thanksgiving Day on the street.
He woke up, went to church and ran all day. After completing his daily marathon, Black came home for a Thanksgiving meal of salad and protein shakes.
He's not complaining. He says he started this challenge to draw attention to impoverished people who go hungry on a daily basis.
"You drive around any city in the United States, and there's always someone somewhere holding a sign or digging through a garbage can for something to eat," he says. "It's great that everyone donates a turkey at Thanksgiving, but this is something bigger than just Thanksgiving."
An estimated 16.2% of the Southern Nevada population is considered "food insecure," meaning people do not know when or from where their next meal will come.
That's above the national average of 14.5% for 2012, according to Feeding America. Nationally, some 17.6 million households are considered "food insecure."
Matt Muldoon, chief development officer at Three Square Food Bank, says Southern Nevada's continued poverty is due in large part to the "triple whammy" that occurred in 2008: home foreclosures, bankruptcies and high unemployment.
"The economic recovery -- if there's any going on in the country -- has really not entrenched itself here," Muldoon says.
Though Black has never participated in an official race, he often runs marathon distances. The most he has ever run in one day is 52 miles. When Black pitched his idea, Muldoon knew he could trust Black to complete this challenge to raise money and awareness for the food bank.
"The first observation I made about Jay was that he was very calm," Muldoon says. "And with that calmness was a very big aura of confidence that he could physically accomplish this feat."
One step at a time
Each day, Black woke up at 4:15 a.m. He went to the kitchen for an energizing shake, then took a hot shower and got ready to run another 26.2 miles.
But it wasn't always easy.
Because he wasn't racing, it took Black five to six hours to complete the distance each day. He usually ran outside but often had trouble finding an