MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — What is the human body capable of doing when pressed to its limits? Darby Voeks is about push his body and mind to the very edge.
“At some point a marathon was considered crazy and then the Ironman was thought impossible,” Voeks said.
On Friday and Saturday, Voeks hopes to complete not one — but two consecutive Ironman challenges. He plans on swimming, biking and running a total of 281.2 miles in the course of the two days.
“When someone average or ordinary does something out of the ordinary, it makes everyone else who might consider themselves mediocre think, ‘What am I capable of?’” Voeks said.
That’s what the 24-year-old hopes to discover about himself. The youth director for Hope Church and Richfield Young Life has competed in the Madison, Wisconsin Ironman competition in 2016, as well as the Twin Cities Marathon in 2018. Voeks also completed an ultramarathon in Moab, Utah.
His aggressive personal challenge has already raised $20,000 for programs at Richfield Young Life – a faith-based youth mentoring program close to Voeks’s heart.
He will begin his day on Friday at 3 p.m. with a 4.8 mile swim of Cedar Lake beginning at Point Beach. He will then get out of his wet suit and onto his bike for the 224-mile route stretching between Minneapolis and Hutchinson, completing the loop twice.
“I’ll bike through the night, we’ll be having caffeine and really overfueling in preparation for [Saturday’s] run,” Voeks said.
Then at about 9 a.m. Saturday, Voeks will set out to complete a double marathon, running a circuitous route around the Minneapolis chain of lakes. He expects to finish close to 9 p.m. on Saturday night at the Lake Harriet Band Shell to a rousing group of supporters.
He says the aptly-named Project 281 Challenge will push the boundaries on this leap of faith.
“And for the kids I work with, our whole goal is to let them know that there is a purpose and a potential to their lives. All they have to do is be open to believing it,” Voeks said.
He’s hoping to prove that what he calls a “platform of average” is anything but.