Coronavirus: East Bay soccer coach runs over 400 miles in 30 days to raise money for local food banks

DANVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- A Danville's Mustang soccer coach is going the extra mile to combat hunger.

If Joe Owen isn't coaching on the soccer field, he is running on the trails of Mount Diablo six days a week. He played soccer all of his life, played professionally and ran to stay in shape for the game. His passion for running started ten years ago when he started trail running and racing in ultra marathons.

During the coronavirus pandemic, he is switching gears and deciding to challenge himself. Owen came up with the challenge called "The 30 in 30 #AprilSummitCrush."

In the month of April, Owen decided to scale the heights of Mount Diablo, running at least 13 miles and climbing 3,400 feet a day.

"I started thinking about some things, that I could do more with my running. I did the Las Vegas Rock 'n Roll Marathon and I ran under the St. Jude sponsorship," said Owen. "It just really opened up my eyes to how I could help other people with my running. We thought about the food bank and being in this pandemic, it is something that can help so many families."

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Owen wanted to think about running on a larger scale. He decided to start a campaign to raise funds for local food banks. He teamed up with a friend of his and started a GoFundMe page with a goal of $1,000 to support the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

"Being in this pandemic, it is going to be something that is going to help a lot of families out there," said Owen.

Word spread quickly of Owen's effort and he hit his dollar goal within 12 hours. Two weeks later he quadrupled his goal, reaching more than $4,000.

"I am really proud of what this has accomplished and we are just going to keep driving forward with it," said Owen.



When Owen learned that the state of California will be sheltering in place for a second month, he wanted to achieve a goal that would push him mentally and physically.

Within the first week, Owen ran up and down Mount Diablo in the rain, fog, and snow.

"A couple of days were treacherous, but that's the adventure," said Owen. "That is what you have to embrace is when you are really challenged like that. This has taught me that you can dig so much deeper into yourself."

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After the first week of the challenge, Owen started gaining momentum and would get into the mindset of trail running the mountain everyday without breaking it.

"This was a mental challenge and it taught me a lot. To find out what you are capable of and I think that people don't realize what kind of potential that they have until they really, really do something like this," said Owen.

To donate to the #AprilSummitCrush for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, click here.

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