Tag Archives: Roy Wiegand

Roy Wiegand Runs Past Another Milestone

Many people have bucket lists of things they want to do in their lifetime.
Some have things to see or places to go high up on their lists.
Roy Wiegand has a list that is a little more unique.
It includes conquering challenges that would seem impossible to many, but are just the norm for the 55-year-old who lives in Burbank.
Although he didn’t start running until he was in his 40s, Wiegand is now clearly hooked on it.
He has withstood a number of ultra distance running challenges and recently went further than he had been before.
Running to raise money for Lifewater International, Wiegand ran on the same course that those who compete in a race dubbed as “the world’s toughest foot race” compete on.
So on August 30 Wiegand started running in Death Valley and nearly 45 hours later completed the course of the Badwater 135.
The Badwater 135 is an ultra marathon course that begins 280 feet below sea level in Death Valley, the lowest elevation point in North America and ends at Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. It is run in July and temperatures are well into triple digits at the start. In the 2018 edition just 69 of the 100 selected entrants finished the 135-mile course. There are roughly 2,000 applicants for the event.
“I had an RV and a crew and they supplied me with food and a doctor friend to keep tabs on me to make sure I wasn’t too dehydrated or too low on calories,” Wiegand said. “I would see them every two to three miles and I’d re-stock up on liquids and eat something.”

Roy Wiegand at the start line of his run. Photo courtesy Roy Wiegand.

Because he was not participating in the actual Badwater 135, Wiegand was literally running all by himself.
“During this year’s run, I counted 13 cars that pulled over to offer me help,” he said. “They saw me running on the side of the road. There’s not much for many miles out in Death Valley. The cars would slowly pull up and the windows would come down and it was usually a European tourist. There’s a lot of European tourists out there. They would ask me ‘Are you okay, do you need some water, do you need a ride, are you lost?’ It is nice that they meant well and wanted to make sure I wasn’t stranded.”
Wiegand said he raised more than $8,000 for this run and the funds will provide for clean water sanitation and hygiene for a small village in Ethiopia.
“It is all about finishing and making sure you get it done under 48 hours,” Wiegand said. “(In) the (Badwater 135) race you’re disqualified if you don’t finish in 48 hours. It was a real bucket list thing for me to try. It was a real personal challenge, but it translates to turning some lives around (for) people I’ll probably never meet.”
Wiegand, who says he has completed eight runs over more than 100 miles, admits he is often reminded of something he was told a number of years ago from another ultramarathoner.
“He said ultra running is 90 percent mental and the other 10 percent is all in your head,” Wiegand said.
During the 45-hour event, Wiegand said he did do some power walking, but took very few breaks in which he completely stopped.
“I took two cat naps that were about 15 minutes each. I had a camping chair,” he said. “I went into a super deep sleep for like 15 minutes and then I got up and going again.”

Roy Wiegand getting assistance from his crew during one of his quick breaks. Photo courtesy Roy Wiegand.

Wiegand said one of the highlights was running around the clock.
“It is surreal running through two nights being out in the desert under the stars,” Wiegand said.
Wiegand also added that he didn’t have as many problems as one might think.
“I’m pretty blessed. I didn’t have any issues more than a couple of blisters at the end,” he said. “That was about it, a couple of black toenails. I was lucky I was able to weather it as well as I did.”
In preparing for the run, Wiegand said he fortunate to have resources in Burbank.
“I owe a lot to the Verdugos,” Wiegand said. “We had some really hot days in July. At least once I put layers on and it was over 110. (I had) pants, two or three shirts, and a windbreaker and I put stuff on my head and a cap just to try to replicate the heat I was going to be facing in Death Valley.”
Wiegand said Crunch Fitness offered use of their sauna even though he is not a member.
“I went to their sauna four or five times and I stayed in there as long as I could in the heat and acclimate as best as I could,” Wiegand said.
Now that he knows he can withstand the most difficult of conditions, it will be interesting to see what Roy Wiegand does next.
“I like the challenge of running in the heat. It is very liberating,” he said. “This is close as I can be to being different. I’m not saying that this is advisable or normal, but I like the challenge.”

Wiegand Ready to Run for Children With Cancer Again

Roy Wiegand isn’t getting any younger.

But at 53 the Burbank resident has plans to do more than ever before.

Wednesday at noon Wiegand will depart from Market Place Park and go running off on a journey around the Santa Clarita Valley for 30 consecutive hours hoping to raise money for the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, which supports families of children with cancer.

He plans to end Thursday at 6 p.m. outside the food court at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.

This is Wiegand’s fourth run that began in memory of Christopher Wilke, a 12-year-old Burbank resident who died of a rare form of cancer in 2014.

“This year I’m kind of excited. It is going to be more about the time. This is 30 hours,” Wiegand said. “I’ve done 24 hours the past couple of years. I feel like I’m going to be able to run a little more than 100 miles this time. I’m excited about that. It is kind of a personal challenge, but of course it is a much bigger cause.”

Roy Wiegand on one of his past runs for Christopher Wilke. (Photo courtesy Steve Starleaf and Roy Wiegand).

Wiegand said he only began running in his early 40s and started doing the ultra-distance running after hearing of Wilke’s story.

“When Christopher’s battle came to light here in Burbank, it was such a personal thing. Christopher and my son were in a Boy Scout Troop together,” Wiegand said. “His story and the family’s strength and how they’ve caught on to want to help people that are in that battle that they went through is very moving and inspires me to help in some way.”


In his first run for Christopher, Wiegand traveled 86 miles.

“The first one we did was kind of special. We started at Angel Stadium. It was 2 in the morning,” Wiegand recalled. “Christopher was an avid Little Leaguer. His favorite team was the Angels. We started the run there. We got a ball signed by Mike Trout. That was his favorite player. The family didn’t know about the ball. We met Christopher’s mom and dad and brother in Santa Clarita late that afternoon. I gave them the ball. I came right through Burbank.”

Wiegand said he is running in Santa Clarita because the foundation he is running for is based there and because he said Santa Clarita offers lots of bike trails to run on.

“It will be my fourth run in honor of Christopher and the other kids that are in the middle of fighting cancer here in Burbank and in Glendale and across the San Fernando Valley,” said Wiegand, who noted that 30 families in the Burbank-Glendale area are currently being assisted by the Michael Hoefflin Foundation.

Wiegand said he plans to exceed the 100 miles that he has gone the past two years.

“I have to get at least 100 miles. I’m not going to let myself go home without doing that. That’s my minimum,” Wiegand said.

Wiegand on his run in 2016. (Photo courtesy Roy Wiegand)

To prepare for the event, Wiegand said he often runs uphill in the mountains in Burbank above De Bell Golf Course.

”I try to be very careful not to over train or do too many miles. It is very difficult on your bod,” Wiegand said.” Your body takes a lot of punishment running. There are a lot of great benefits to running, but also it beats you up pretty good. I generally haven’t run more than 20 miles on a training run for the most part, although this year for the first time I did a 40 miler. I did that about four weeks ago.”

He isn’t too concerned with the longer distance.

“Ultra-distance running is 90 percent mental. The other 10 percent is in your head,” Wiegand said. “You can talk yourself in or out of anything. I like to think it helps me being a little bit older. I can maybe think a little bit outside the box and talk myself into it.”

What he is concerned with are the temperatures he may face.

“The temperature is going to jump up into the 90s this Wednesday just in time for my run. It will be over 95 Wednesday and Thursday when I’m up in Santa Clarita,” Wiegand said. “That means on the bike path it will be over 100 degrees with the asphalt and heat coming off there.

The challenge to staying hydrated is really tough. It’s almost possible to stay hydrated enough. It’s almost impossible not to be dehydrated because of the extreme temperatures and the mileage. So I drink as much as I can and hopefully I’m peeing a lot.  If you stop peeing, you know you are dehydrated.”

Roy Wiegand running on Glenoaks Blvd. in Glendale in 2016. (Photo courtesy Roy Wiegand)

Wiegand said he doesn’t have plans to make any long stops other than using a restroom.

“Sometimes I do eat on the run. I might take a break or two to stop and change shoes and maybe put on a clean shirt. But none of those stops are more than a few minutes,” he said. “I’m not running as fast as I can. I’m doing an easy pace. It’s all about keeping moving. As long as you are moving, it doesn’t really matter how fast you are going.”

Wiegand said this year’s goal is to raise $13,100 for the foundation. He noted that this is equal to $100 per mile for five marathons. It is an average of six hours per marathon.

“It is still a very Burbank-centric event. Christopher’s family lives here, I live here. A lot of our supporters and donors live in Burbank,” Wiegand said. “It will tie in nice with Santa Clarita because that’s where the foundation is.”

Wiegand said this year fans will also be able to track his progress during the run.

“I’m having a GPS tracker with me the whole run so you will be able to see what mile I’m on,” he said. “You download the app on your phone. It is a free app and every five miles I get to you get an alert, Roy is at mile 10 or 20 or 30 or whatever it is.”

For more information on supporting Wiegand by donating money to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, visit Mhf.org on the Internet.

“The kids really inspire me, Christopher’s story of course. The kids that are fighting their battle now, it is the fight of their lives,” Wiegand said. “If I get tired or uncomfortable a little bit or start hurting I think about them. I’m blessed. I’m healthy and I’ve got the ability to run a long way and what a privilege it is to do it for them.”



Roy Wiegand Completes Second 100 Mile Run Supporting Michael Hoefflin Foundation

Roy Wiegand successfully completed his second 100 mile run from the Children’s Hospital of Orange County to McCambridge Park in Burbank in a heroic effort to raise money for the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children’s Cancer.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by John Savageau)

Flanked by 50 fellow runners and cyclists as he crossed into Burbank, Wiegand was met by the Burbank Police and Fire Department which provided him an escort through the city on the way to his goal at center court in the park’s Burbank Tennis Center.

Wiegand’s run honors the memory of a family friend, Christopher Wilke, who died at the young age of 12 from bile duct cancer in 2014. Christopher’s family joined him at the Tennis Center, along with Leah Valles, also 12, who is a skin cancer survivor. Leah ran the final leg of the race with Wiegand, wearing her distinctive “Sunblock Stinks, Cancer Stinks More” shirt.

A large crowd welcomed Wiegand as he completed the run, with many sporting “Team Christopher” T-Shirts.

Other than the need for creating additional cancer awareness, Wiegand also attracted money from pledges and donations to drive towards a target of $25,000 for the Hoefflin Foundation.

Several Burbank dignitaries, including Mayor Bob Frutos and Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes, honored Wiegand for his efforts, and Wiegand himself was asked to say a few words for the crowd. A humble man, and of course exhausted from the run, he simply stated “It was for the family of Christopher,” and proceeded to thank those who assisted during the 100 mile ultra-marathon.

Michael Hoefflin Foundation For Children’s Cancer- The Michael Hoefflin Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public non-profit organization that was started in 1995 by nine year-old Michael Hoefflin and his parents Chris and Sue. Michael succumbed to cancer in 1996 and passed away at the age of 10. You can learn more about the Michael Hoefflin Foundation at their website www.mhf.org

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)



Burbank Resident to Honor Life of Christopher Wilke in July 4 Run

wilke run

Run in Honor of Christopher Wilke Will Take Place July 4
from Anaheim to Santa Clarita

Santa Clarita, CA – In honor of Christopher Wilke, a 12-year-old boy who died of cancer of the bile ducts on March 20, 2014, Burbank resident and ultra marathon runner Roy Wiegand is planning to run from Angels Stadium in Anaheim to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation in Santa Clarita, on Friday, July 4. All proceeds from this run will go to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children’s Cancer.

Christopher Wilke will always be in the hearts of others

Christopher Wilke will always be in the hearts of others

Wiegand’s son and Wilke were in the same Boy Scout Troop, and Wiegand was “blown away” by the amazing effect Wilke had upon so many people in his community. At the rosary for Wilke, Wiegand heard so many stories about the boy, who was an avid baseball player and loved the Angels.

“It really spoke to me,” said Wiegand, who for the past five years has done challenge runs to raise money for Lifewater International, an organization that builds water wells in developing countries. Last year he ran from San Luis Obispo to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and raised $12,000 for this cause.

During the Run for Christopher on July 4, Wiegand will have a racing stroller with him, which can hold up to 100 pounds. He would love to give rides to kids along the way.

Roy's Run for Christopher FlyerDonations for this run can be made directly to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation (www.mhf.org). People can join Wiegand along the way for any distance they would like.

Wilke’s baseball number was 48, so in an ideal world, Wiegand would love to raise $48,000 for the Foundation from this run. “I will raise as much as I can,” Wiegand said. “I feel like I am the lucky one. This is an amazing opportunity.”

For more information, please visit www.mhf.org.