By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) – Gerardo Muñoz took off on his weekly adventure early Sunday morning. He’s a runner, and Sunday in the running world is a long run day. However, this year, unlike many others, he isn’t really training for any big races.

“Typically I run one or two marathons a year. I’ve done that for the past five years or so, and I was really bummed that I wasn’t going to get a marathon in this year,” Muñoz said.

(credit: CBS)

When his races got canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic he needed a goal to work toward. That’s when his wife had an idea. She suggested that instead of running a race, he should help the communities effected the most by COVID-19 and racial injustice.

“I’ve been thinking to myself what can I actually do in the position that I’m in right now?” he said.

They came up with a plan to use his talents to help others in the Denver community.

“The point is to try to complete as many 26.2 mile distance runs every couple of weeks in order to raise money for nonprofits in the Denver metro area that are serving communities of color in particular,” said Muñoz.

So far he has raised money for three different nonprofits: The Growhaus, Black Lives Matter 5280 and Heart and Hand Center. He says making people who can help aware of organizations that support those in need has been the highlight of the summer.

“That’s been really powerful, getting the emails from friends and colleagues saying, ‘Man this organization is really great. How did I not know about this? I’m giving. I’m going to support it.'”

Sunday he faced a new challenge; running a marathon through the haze of Colorado’s wildfires. He thought about calling it off, but instead of complaining he sees it as an opportunity.

“My heart goes out to the communities affected by these wildfires and the vulnerable people in our city who cannot leave their home because of how bad it is. That may be the kind of thing that we need to direct some resources towards,” Muñoz said.

You can follow his journey on Facebook.

Michael Abeyta