Endurance athlete begins 72-hour run to help Army

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Ultra-endurance athlete Jason P. Lester is used to tackling big challenges. He just completed a 2,600-mile run across the Great Wall of China in 83 days. Now that he’s back home in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Lester set up a challenge for himself and the local community: help provide a Christmas gift for every keiki in need in West Hawaii.

Lester, the first disabled athlete to compete in the Ultraman World Championships, led the “CHA11ENGE ENDURANCE RUN,” a nonstop run for 72-plus hours. For every mile Lester and other athletes ran, community members donated toy for The Salvation Army’s Kailua-Kona Corps Angel Tree at the local Walmart or make a donation in the event’s Red Kettle.

Kailua-Kona corps officers Lts. Jessica and Michael Stack with ultra-endurance athlete Jason P. Lester.

Kailua-Kona corps officers Lts. Jessica and Michael Stack with ultra-endurance athlete Jason P. Lester.

“We’re encouraging the community to step up and support our keiki through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program,” said Lester, the 2009 ESPY award winner. “We welcome any and all runners who would like to join in and put in some miles for a great cause. It’s important to note that this run is inspired and in memory of my friend Kaleo Opiopio who recently lost his battle with cancer. I send my blessings to his family.”

Major John Chamness, Salvation Army Hawaiian and Pacific Islands divisional commander, and Lt. Mike Stack, Kailua-Kona corps officer, both joined Lester for different portions of the race.

 Event supporters include The Never Stop Foundation, EP1C Endurance Performance, Akamai Pest Solutions, VEGA, Vitamin Shoppe and XTEP.

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