PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — An attempt to break a Guinness World Record is underway in Palm Beach County, Florida. Jason Lester, an ultra-endurance athlete, is attempting to run the greatest distance ever covered on a treadmill in one week.
Lester is no stranger to a good challenge.
He's run a combined total of 14,000 miles across the globe, including the Great Wall of China.
But this week, a corner of the Palm Beach Sports Club in Palm Beach Gardens is Lester's setting.
"Thirteen different countries and I’ve always had it in my mind, on my bucket list, that I wanted to go after a 7-day world record," said Lester.
To break the world record he has set out to attempt, Lester has to run more than 525 miles on the treadmill by next Monday, which equates to 77 miles per day.
"This is to inspire others to be active. It’s a lifestyle for me to do ultras and I am just hoping to get people in the fitness mindset," said Lester.
When the going gets tough, Lester thinks back to the hospital bed he laid in as a 12-year-old boy after being hit by a car while riding his bike.
He had a collapsed lung, 21 broken bones and he ended up losing his right arm.
"I remember fighting for my life and taking my last breath, being pronounced dead at the scene and for some reason God had a better plan for me. And here I am representing those people that are fighting," said Lester.
After a driver running a red light almost took Lester's life, "Running on Faith" became his mantra and the title of his book.
It's one that aligns perfectly with that of Palm Beach County residents Maria Ochoa and Camilo Villegas, a professional golfer.
The couple lost their daughter Mia at the age of 2 last July to brain cancer.
Lester is dedicating this run and world record attempt to "Mia's Miracles", a foundation her parents created in her honor after her passing.
"We have always been very inspired about people giving their best in any field that it is in their life and Jason for sure is doing that. And he’s giving an amazing example to all of us and his story is also very inspiring so it’s a perfect match for the foundation," said Maria Ochoca, Founder of Mia's Miracles.
Lester said when he learned about Mia's story, there was no hesitation it was the organization he wanted to support.
"Mia fought hard. She had a courageous life for 2 years and she’s still with us and I feel her spirit with me today. And it brings a smile to my face and a tear to my eye because without her I wouldn’t be here. I don’t really get anything out of doing ultra distance races but I use it as a platform to bring awareness to charities that people need to know about," said Lester.
Over the next several days, the public is encouraged to stop by the gym which will be open around the clock to cheer Lester on, run alongside him or you can donate online to support Mia's Miracles.
Lester will take only short breaks to eat, use the restroom and gain a new witness as required by Guinness. If you choose to cheer him on from home, you can watch a live feed of him running but he hopes you do at least take one step toward being the best you.
"I don’t want you to be an Ironman or an ultra man or an ultra-endurance athlete. I just want you to be the best that you’re supposed to be. Show up every day. Be consistent, whether you want to be the best gardener or the best person at the front desk here or the best mother, the best father, show up every day and give it your all," said Lester.
You can visit Lester's website, http://jasonlester.me/ to watch the live feed, sign up to run with him or donate.