Chase Whelan can’t make a mission trip to Haiti with his Hermitage church this summer, but he still wants to do his part to help out the people there.
To raise cash toward that end, the 19-year-old Whelan’s going to put his feet to the pavement in a big way: He’s going to run 32 miles (a round 50 kilometers for those like Whelan who are well-versed in the metric system) and is asking people to donate toward the Haiti mission.
He plans on making the run between Grace Chapel Community Church’s Sunday services on June 2, he said.
“This is how I want to impact the mission,” Whelan said.
He ran cross country and track during his high school years at West Middlesex and he participated in the indoor track season during his freshman year at Westminster College, where he’s studying biology.
He thought he was going to be able to make the trip, but has other commitments this summer, so this is his way to help out.
“This will be the longest (run) I’ve ever completed,” Whelan said.
He’s still working out a route for the trek, which will trump a marathon’s 26.2 miles by about 6 miles. He settled on the number because 32 miles is an even 50K.
“It’s all going to be in Mercer County,” he said.
That day he plans on attending the 11:30 a.m. service at the non-denominational church and leaving from there at about 12:30 p.m.
There’s a Sunday night “Gathering” service that’s oriented toward young adults at the church’s Sharon location on Elm Avenue, and he plans on ending the run during that service that night.
He’s inviting those who donate to the cause to attend that service so he can personally thank them, he said.
Until then, he’s training by running 10- to 15-mile routes around the Shenango Valley.
He’s hoping to keep a 10-minute mile pace, which pegs the 32-mile run at 5 hours and 20 minutes, he said.
“That’s the goal,” he said.
He’d also like to be able to send a substantial check with the group that’s going to Haiti.
“The sky’s the limit,” he said.
“If I could send $5,000 to Haiti, I think it would be an amazing thing,” he said.
To donate, make checks payable to Grace Chapel and send them to the church, at Grace Chapel Community Church, 4075 Lamor Road, Hermitage, PA 16148.