The Hunger 500 - Joe's Experience

Joe Henry ran from Washington, D.C. to Guelph, Ontario, Canada all to make a stand about something he cares deeply about - hunger. Read why Joe decided to run and find out what inspired him along the way.


Throughout the course of the Hunger 500 I faced numerous challenges. I ran more than 500 miles in a 17-day period across the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario.  I passed through dozens of counties and more than 100 cities and towns along the way.  I took well over 500,000 steps, burned more than 100,000 calories, lost 1 toenail and endured 16 ice baths.  And yet, the number that is most striking is that more than 425,000 people died of hunger and related diseases during the course of my journey.  

One year ago I attended the 5th Annual Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit at Auburn University in Alabama.  At the summit I was inspired by the amount of individuals performing extraordinary acts to combat hunger and poverty.  Among the stories I heard at the summit was that of a man who ran three marathons in three consecutive days to raise awareness for the fight against hunger.  As an avid runner, this story resonated with me; I felt as if I finally had discovered an avenue to act.  

For me there is a primal component to distance running that identifies with the suffering of the hungry.  When someone is truly starving to death nothing else matters.  Any existing facades are stripped away to reveal only the purest of human emotion.  Distance running can have a similar effect.  This run was a way for me, in some small way, to pay tribute to the suffering of the poor and hungry.  

Hopefully by now, most people have some understanding of the enormity and complexity of the issues surrounding hunger and poverty.  It can be overwhelming, even paralyzing at times.  But if my journey is able to leave you with one thought, I hope it is this: focus not on the size of the problem, but rather how you can be a part of the solution.  Worry not about where your place in the equation is, but trust that no matter what your passion or skill set may be, there is a place for you to act.


To read more about Joe's journey visit

Written by Joseph Henry