The Ian Ray Birthday Challenge

"My doctor told me that if I take perfect care of myself for the rest of my life. Then one day, I will get sick and die"

“My doctor said that if I take good care of myself for the rest of my life. Then one day I will get sick and die”

Do you have any goals in mind you’d like to accomplish by your next birthday? Or maybe certain rituals that have become standard affair on such an occasion? Well, this year I am going to accomplish both with one activity. I’m going to run myself ragged trying to run 30 miles for my 30th birthday – in what I am calling henceforth, The Birthday Challenge.

Busy? Skip to the TL;DR (Too Lazy; Didn’t Read)

Your Birth on this Earth

While there are many days we all agree to celebrate throughout the year, I have found most of them to be just glorified excuses for extending a weekend. There are, however, a few days of personal significance we all experience that really should be our temporary excuses from work, school and other pressing matters. Oh how grand it would be to have a day to reflect on your life instead of that of an Italian imperialist named Christopher!

Our birthday in particular is a day that bonds us together on a journey that has a seemingly endless number of routes all leading to the same finish line. So while the date I celebrate may be inconsequential to you, the day itself is equally significant. (Although the date itself may be more common than you know according to the Birthday Problem).

2013 Birthday Challenge: Run 30 Miles on my 30th Birthday

I will be collecting donations for every mile I run to support the Next Up Foundation. Donate online »

What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -Socrates

What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -Socrates

The Birthday Challenge

I suppose I am late to the party on this one since Jack Lalanne had been performing his legendary birthday stunts decades before I could have even tried my first one. But in a similar fashion, I will be pulling from own experiences to create a challenge that will push my limits physically and test me mentally. I am hoping that having this annual challenge awaiting me will ensure that I maintain a healthy level of fitness and mental well being to push myself further and harder as I add an extra candle on each cake.

I have been a runner most of my days and recently completed the Surf City Half Marathon (13.1 miles). While this will provide me with a great foundation for completing this challenge, this is something I have never accomplished. In fact, my personal best for distance running is somewhere in the neighborhood of less than half of 30 miles. So in order to make it a believable and achievable goal, I am giving myself from sunrise to sunset to run 30 miles. To qualify it as being a running achievement, I am also setting a parameter that each mile must be faster than let’s say a 12 or 13 min per mile pace. Otherwise, it’s just a really fast walk and not much of a challenge. This is only a concern for the last several miles, but an important detail nonetheless!

Selfish Selflessness

Even if I could focus long enough, there is no escaping the inevitability for much of this time being used to selfishly meditate in motion. However having said that, I want the energy produced by my efforts to be used for the greater good. I am asking that you help pitch in to make a small donation for every mile I run, which will be donated to the people who need it most. I helped launch a small, local non-profit organization called the Next Up Foundation with Vinicius “Vina” Tinoco. He came here from Brazil with just the shirt on his back, and works tirelessly delivering pizzas nights and weekends just to keep it alive. He could really use our support.

My hope is that everyone reading this could donate just $1 per mile, but I appreciate that times are tough. So please give whatever you can comfortably. If you are anyone that would even consider buying me a gift, please donate instead.

Let The Games Begin

Thanks for listening! For those who skipped to the end, here’s the TL;DR:

  • I am going to run 30 miles between sunrise and sunset
  • With no single mile slower than 12 min
  • Every penny collected will be donated to a 501(c)(3) charity

Sponsor The Birthday Challenge

Donate to the Next Up Foundation 501(c)(3). Let me know if you need a receipt from them for tax deductible purposes. Enter Total Amount below (ie. $30 for $1 per mile)





  1. Good luck Ian! What a great thing you are doing! I admire that you are running 30 miles for your 30th instead of drinking 30 shots or something crazy 😉

  2. Good luck Ian. I hope this turns out to be more fun for you than running suicides.

  3. Way to go Ian! I hope you have a great day and what a way to celebrate by giving! Shows a lot of character!!!!

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