Derek Haines is willing to travel to the ends of the Earth to contribute to a good cause.
Mr. Haines, an intrepid long-distance runner, made his 12th trip to Guatemala last month in service of the Guatemalan Literacy Project and the Good Samaritan Food Bank in Grand Cayman. Mr. Haines climbed a Guatemalan volcano once again, and he will run the arduous Mt. Mee Marathon in Australia in April as part of his fundraising efforts.
Mr. Haines hopes to raise $35,000 for the Good Samaritan Food Bank, but the fundraising is still in a preliminary stage. Mr. Haines, alongside friends Lynn Roffey and Gaby Amado, climbed to the summit of Guatemalan volcano Acatenango at 13,044 feet in February.
The trio began their trek at 4 a.m. and did not reach the summit until six hours later, where they experienced breathtaking views of volcanoes Fuego, Agua, Toliman and Atitlan. They spent a half-hour on the summit and did not make it back to the bottom of the hill until 11 hours after their trek had begun.
For Mr. Haines, the second trip to the volcano’s summit was easier than the first.
“It did seem a tad bit easier,” he said Thursday. “The weather was superb, and the ground was a tad drier. The first time, it was quite slippery. It was a bit easier, even though one member of our party, Lynn Roffey, had never been climbing or trekking on a mountain before. She really enjoyed herself.”
Mr. Haines and Ms. Roffey, along with a delegation from the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, also met with a group of Guatemalan students as part of the Guatemalan Literacy Project, which aims to provide financial aid for the purpose of keeping children enrolled through middle school and high school.
The next challenge for Mr. Haines will be the brutal Mt. Mee marathon, which he will take on with his daughter Lizzie on April 14. That race will take the pair over hills and creek crossings, contrasting the normal road-lined paths Mr. Haines encounters in his marathons around the world.
“It’s not as harsh as the one I did in Lake Atitlan, which is in the top 10 most challenging,” he said. “But this one is different.… It’s out in the wilderness. My daughter likes to stay with me on this one, and I won’t be galloping off. I’m anticipating it will take me over five hours to do this one. It’s a trail run, so you’re out in the bush. You have to keep an eye out for spiders and snakes and things like that.”
The Good Samaritan Food Bank, which recently opened in Grand Cayman, is already helping to feed 200 people per week and the funds Mr. Haines raises will be used to purchase equipment for the facility.
For Mr. Haines, who is constantly in motion, there will not be any special training for the Mt. Mee Marathon. He’s just going to ramp up the intensity of his local runs over the next few weeks.
“I do quite a lot of running anyway. I do about 50 miles a week,” said Mr. Haines of his training regimen. “My last marathon was in December here in Cayman. I really haven’t done the long runs since; I’ve only been doing 13 or 14 miles. I’ll have to increase fairly rapidly, because it’s only a few weeks away.”
Interested observers can contribute to Mr. Haines’ cause by making donations to the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman and referencing Food Bank on a check or in the transaction field. Donations can also be made by sending an email to [email protected]