The first time Justin Rosen ran 24 miles in 24 hours, it was just for fun. The second time, he did it to help others.
The president of Los Altos High’s junior class, he worked with fellow members of the Associated Student Body and administrators to organize the second Rosen 1 MPH Challenge as part of the school’s second food drive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Overall, it went really well – even better than the first (challenge), I think, because we were able to raise money for charity,” the Los Altos resident said.
The food drive raised $7,500 for Second Harvest Food Bank, according to assistant principal and ASB adviser Suzanne Woolfolk, and “at least $2,500 came in directly as a result of the Rosen Challenge.”
The ASB donated $1 for each mile participants logged online until they reached $1,000; the rest of the money came from students, parents and other community members who pledged per-mile donations.
Fifty-eight people participated in the challenge, which followed social-distancing protocol. Most of the runners were Los Altos High students, but several other members of the community also took part by running, walking or biking a mile an hour starting at 9 a.m. May 2.
“I was surprised that so many joined in,” Woolfolk said. “To run alone, every hour, for 24 hours – that was incredible to me. I think it showed how much students love their community and want to help out but also really showed that everyone is looking for something fun and safe to do that connects them to others.”
Although “not everyone did the entire thing,” Rosen said, many of them did run all 24 miles in the time allotted. Rosen, a distance runner at Los Altos, and older sister Emma were among them.
The siblings and a few of their friends also completed the inaugural Rosen Challenge, held March 22. Rosen said he came up with the idea during the early days of the shelter-in-place orders because “I wasn’t doing much and got pretty bored.”
It inspired him to reach out to the school to organize a second challenge for charity that would also be “a good way for people to stay active,” he said. This time, themes were added to the miles every three hours – such as wearing Los Altos High gear, dressing as a tourist and running with a pet – and participants connected on Zoom to support each other.