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Local woman running ultra-distance for charity

Grand Rapids' Pamela Mooty is raising money for a local nonprofit's youth outreach programs.

There's still time to donate:

Donations can be made until Friday June 21.

Vistit Urban Transformation Ministries' WePay page

Visit North End Community Ministries website and click on "Donate Now." Enter "Miles for Meals" as the reference ID.

Pamela Mooty is raising money for local nonprofit Urban Transformation Ministries.

Pamela Mooty is raising money for local nonprofit Urban Transformation Ministries. /Courtesy of Pamela Mooty

For her second ultra-distance race Desert R.A.T.S, Pamela Mooty is raising money for Urban Transformation Ministries (UTM) which serves Grand Rapids at-risk youth. Mooty, who learned of UTM through members of her church that have participated in its programs, is asking sponsors for donations of $1 per mile. Sponsors match the mileage run in a day.

Desert R.A.T.S is a six-day, five-stage race. It began Monday, June 17 in Grand Junction, Colorado and ends in Moab, Utah. Each day running distances will range between nine and 50 miles. Mooty and her running partner Steve Karston kicked off training for the race this past winter.

Since then the pair has participated in at least one race almost every month as long training miles, says Mooty. Last month she ran the 25k race for the third time in the annual Fifth-Third Riverbank Run.

Mooty and Karston stayed on track with training by using a plan formulated by Karston, who has participated in various ultra-distance races. Training included a lot of carrying a camelbak and hip packs, which was about 17 pounds of water and gear, says Karston.

Throughout the race runners are required to always carry a minimum of 1,000 calories and 80 ounces of liquid; survival gear must also be carried, including a lightweight survival blanket, flashlight and compass.

“They’re small things but when you add it all up it’s kind of a lot of weight,” says Mooty. “That was the trick [during training], trying to get everything distributed so all the weight isn’t on your back.”

The difference in terrain and altitude between Michigan and the Kokopelli Trail has made training for the Desert R.A.T.S race difficult, says Mooty. Elevation at the trail ranges from 4,460 feet to 8,500 feet.

“You can read about what to expect, but until you put your foot on that path you don’t really know what to expect,” says Mooty.

Mooty is also preparing for the mental challenges she faces.

“My mind can really play games on me, so practicing turning some of that off can be hard,” says Mooty. “You have to put your mind on other things beside the run.”

After participating in her first ultra-distance race a year ago, Mooty was shocked she was able to finish and thought she wouldn’t do another ultra-distance.

“I told my training buddies ‘OK that was fun but I’ll never do that again,’ and a week later I said ‘OK what are we doing next year,’” says Mooty. “I learned don't ever say ‘I’ll never’ because usually for some reason or another you’ll be pushed into that, to try.”

For the Desert R.A.T.S race Mooty wanted to raise money for a good cause. After much prayer, she says, she decided to raise money for UTM.

“I’m amazed at the transformations this program has to offer,” says Mooty. “I wish everyone could meet some of the individuals that have been through the programs for them to tell their story. It’s heart wrenching.”

To keep her focus, Mooty will be praying for individuals at UTM.

“My run is nothing. It’s 148 miles but I don't really feel like I’m doing even close to what they've been through in their life and what they’ve experienced,” says Mooty.

Karston is also using the race to raise money for North End Community Ministries, which offers a food pantry and supper house to the communities in Northeast Grand Rapids.

Moody and Karston have each raised over 1,000 dollars. Donations can still be made online on Mooty’s WePay page.

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