Last November, Aliso Elementary School teacher Mary Lewandowski and husband Leon started a challenge to benefit the fight against muscular dystrophy. Spurred on by Leon’s mother’s diagnosis of the disease 20 years ago, the couple decided to walk their own marathon in her honor for someone who could not complete a marathon on their own. The couple, neither of whom are marathon runners, had special T-shirts designed and began their journey. 

After completing a 26.2-mile challenge and posting their proof of completion, each donated $26.20 to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, then challenged others to do the same. Once challenged, potential marathoners have 30 days to find their 24-hour window to complete it. Because it’s a 24-hour window, some folks are doing a portion of their mileage in the evenings, going to bed and finishing up the next morning.

Meanwhile, Leon contacted running and marathon groups, local gyms, local churches, online influencers, and more, hoping to garner steam behind the challenge. He started a Facebook group called “24-hour Marathon Challenge.” A woman who qualified for the Olympic trials in February joined the Lewandowskis, and there’s a running club in Pennsylvania that is now completing the challenge. 

“The benefits for the challengers include kicking off 2020 with fitness, checking off something from their bucket lists, and connecting with others because it’s fun to do with someone else,” said Leon, who is a teacher at Franklin Elementary School in Santa Barbara. In 2012, Leon started The Random Acts of Kindness Challenge which has been adopted by many across the nation and overseas. 

For more information, on the 24-hour marathon challenge, check out the groups Facebook page.

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