Danielle Marsh said she has competed in a few half marathons and marathons in her time, but never an ultra-marathon.
That will change in February when the 2007 Boiling Springs High School grad, who now lives in Pittsburgh, goes to Haiti to run more than 210 miles in eight days. She is participating in the Run Across Haiti, a fifth-year event run by Work, a nonprofit based out of Los Angeles with a stated mission to accompany families in Haiti out of poverty through good, dignified jobs.
Run Across Haiti is a charity run that will feature nearly 40 runners from the United States running what averages out to nearly a marathon a day. Marsh will run seven days with one off day near the end of the eight-day stretch.
Marsh was selected through an application process and several chats that were essentially interviews to see if she would be able to commit to the physical demand — she is running around 16 miles most days or doing some other workouts when she doesn’t run — as well as commit to raising $5,000 for the charity that helps create jobs in Port-au-Prince, Marsh said.
“I was sitting in a bar in Pittsburgh [in 2018],” she said, when a friend who just finished the race that year said that Marsh should give it a try. So Marsh applied and received her confirmation in August.
“Physically I’m kind of trusting my coach [assigned to me],” Marsh said in a phone call Thursday. “I’m out running every day now in the rain.”
Marsh ran middle distance races with the Bubblers in high school. After graduation she attended the University of Pittsburgh and majored in Italian and communications. She said she has worked a few jobs since graduating college and currently works as an international marketing manager at a tech health care startup.
She said the charity run checks off two important factors for her.
“I was ready to try something new,” she said. “And this kind of hit me a little more personally because it’s a charity event. … It satisfies my desire to find a new challenge and to find something that [helps others].”
She said she has raised around $2,000 so far, weeks before the race. People tell her the majority of the fundraising typically happens during the trip.
“I’m going to be blogging, talking to people each day of the race,” she said.
According to Work, the organization has raised more than $700,000 since 2015 and $250,000 this year alone.