Man Ran 100 Miles in a Day to Raise Support for Suicide Prevention Programs for Veterans

June 27, 2020 Updated: June 27, 2020

Over Memorial Day weekend this year, Peter Makredes carried his cooler full of food and drinks to a park in Las Vegas.

However, he wasn’t there to grill; he was there to run—and the food served as his fuel.

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Peter Makredes packed food and shoes to get him through the day of running for 24 hours. (Courtesy of Peter Makredes)

While others headed to Exploration Peak Park to relax with their families, Makredes had a mission: run 100 miles in 24 hours to raise money and awareness around veterans’ suicide.

In 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported an average of 20 suicide deaths per day in veterans. From 2008 to 2017, the number of veteran suicides exceeded 6,000 each year.

“They did their job protecting us, now it is our job to protect them,” Makredes wrote on his online fundraising page through Mission 22, a nonprofit that provides counseling for veterans. “By sacrificing just twenty-four hours of my time I hope to raise awareness, support, and money for these heroes who are struggling right now.”

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Peter Makredes holds a Mission 22 banner in Las Vegas. (Courtesy of Peter Makredes)

“Twenty-four hours isn’t anything in the grand scheme of things,” Makredes told CNN on May 26, a day after completing the run. “I do this so I can make someone’s life better.”

More Than 225 Laps Around the Park

This is the third year that Makredes has completed a 24-hour run. In 2019, he ran 88 miles, and the year before, he completed an 80-mile run.

The 28-year-old knows exactly what to pack to keep him going: containers of pasta, banana sandwiches, and electrolyte drinks—all to nourish his body throughout the run.

Some of his family members, friends, and rugby teammates joined him at 8 a.m. on the morning of May 24 to cheer him on as he started his first lap around the park.

Throughout the next morning, Makredes ran over 225 laps around the park to reach his goal of 100 miles. He completed all the miles in just over the 24-hour mark around 9 a.m. on May 25.

“I needed the number of miles to be super high so people would care about the cause,” Makredes said. “It also really tests me, my will power and pushes my body to the limits.”

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Makredes runs through red streamers to signify having completed 50 miles. (Courtesy of Peter Makredes)

At times, people joined him and completed a lap beside him. His family handed him fresh water and snacks as he passed by the beginning line. They even held up sparklers at night to show their support for him.

Makredes said he took two pairs of shoes, and every 20 miles, he would change out of them to help prevent blisters.

According to the fundraising page, he has also completed his goal of raising US$25,000. Makredes said he plans to continue his Memorial Day weekend tradition every year, and possibly add more miles.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.