Woman runs 24 hours continuously to fundraise for Dayton homeless shelter

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Madalyne Smith ran every day in 2018, following through on a New Year’s resolution she set in late 2017. To cap off her achievement, the endurance runner decided to close out this year in a big way.

Smith confessed it was a wild idea most people wouldn’t dare. One day after relocating from Columbus to Dayton, she started from Urban Krag Climbing Center and began looping through the Oregon District on a 24-hour run from midnight to midnight on New Year’s Eve. She planned to stop only for restroom and food breaks.

2 NEWS caught up to Smith around 10 a.m. Monday when she had completed 37 miles so far.

“People don’t brutalize themselves for fun unless they’re crazy,” she laughed.

To offset the craziness, Smith decided to make the all-day venture into a fundraising event.

“If I’m going to do something stupid, I might as well do something stupid for a charity,” she said.

With recommendations from friends, she used the run to collect money for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Donors pledged between 10 cents and two dollars per mile to help Dayton’s homeless population through the charity.

Executive Director Michael Vanderburgh was amazed to find Smith’s event on Facebook and sent her off at midnight when she started her run.

“It’s individual donations that make up all the difference,” he said. “We can’t really do what we do without them.”

Vanderburgh explained demand for St. Vincent de Paul’s services in 2018 reached record levels.

The organization provides shelter, clothing, food, toiletries and case management to more than 100,000 people struggling with poverty and homelessness each year. On many occasions in 2018, more than 500 guests used the emergency shelter and in November, it saw a 30 percent increase over the previous year.

“We find people from all walks of life that end up in shelter,” Vanderburgh said. “Of course, it’s their roughest time of life to be in shelter.”

St. Vincent de Paul estimates a $28 donation can cover a full day’s services for one individual. 

Smith estimated she would be able to run about 80 miles Monday and raise more than $600, which would pay for more than 21 individual guests.

To learn more about St. Vincent de Paul’s mission and how to donate or volunteer, click here.

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