A local man has pledged to run up Mount Royal 365 times with a goal of raising 365 pounds of food donations to Dillon's Family & Intercultural Resource Center by Thanksgiving.Mike Ambrose, moving to the county a mere two weeks ago, is already making quite the splash in the area with his campaign.Ambrose, who often embarks upon the ascent of the Frisco peak multiple times a day, says he simply enjoys running in the alpine - but there's deeper meaning to his goal."My family has always said that I should do something positive with my running, and moving here it seemed like the perfect way to give back to the community and connect with the area as a newcomer," he said.Ambrose set his site on FIRC in Dillon after doing research in the area and discovering a need."I got a feeling that around here a food bank may get overlooked a lot because so many people just come up for the weekend and they forget that people live here and do struggle," Ambrose said.In collaboration with Anita Overmyer, the development and volunteer director at FIRC, Ambrose set an ambitious goal to donate at least 365 pounds of food by Thanksgiving, and to continue throughout the year until Sept. 18, 2013."I think it's great that he's found something he's passionate about and is using it to get the community involved," Overmyer said.Ambrose's awareness campaign couldn't have come at a better time for FIRC."Right now is a very busy time for us, especially going into the holidays over the next couple of months," Overmyer said. "We've seen a 15 percent increase of demand at the food bank - we're having a hard time keeping shelves stocked. In the 15 years that I've been here, I've never seen it so busy. We're falling behind."The demand at the food bank has Ambrose urging the community to donate food on behalf of his cause.To achieve his goal, Ambrose plans to host group runs up Mount Royal, requiring participants to bring a food donation."I want to inspire others to join me on the trail and to help those less fortunate throughout the year," he said. It has to be a group effort, and so far Ambrose has had overwhelming support for the infant project that started immediately after he moved to Frisco from Philadelphia Sept. 18. "Food donations are coming from everywhere in the county and I have a lot of support from back home," he said. "My family and friends have made both food and monetary donations and I've passed people on the trail that have seen me often and have asked what I'm doing - just putting it on people's minds is a good thing. Maybe the next time they're in the grocery store, they'll pick up extra things to take to the food bank." Using the money he would have spent on travel and race entry fees this year, Ambrose is saving up and donating too."I'm going to take all of the money I spent last year on racing to buy food and drop that off as well," he said.
The Mount Royal climb, a three-mile round-trip that summits at 10,500 feet which takes most people less than an hour, will be more challenging in the winter months. Doing it safely is on the top of his priority list."The winter is going to be tough because of the snow," he said. "Preparation is the big thing before going onto the mountain and to know what you're getting yourself into. Having nutrition and extra calories on is important. It's just about being smart and trying to learn from other experiences." As Ambrose prepares for the winter months, the list of equipment that he needs is long: snow shoes, traction poles, appropriate clothing, traction spikes and more."I'm probably going to have to where goggles too," he said. "To keep my vision clear and comfortable if it's snowing will definitely be necessary."To prepare for snowy days, Ambrose is ensuring that he's eating, drinking and sleeping enough. Though 365 runs may not sound like a moderate amount for most people, he says that the short hike will not be strenuous in the winter months."It will definitely make the hike longer and more difficult, but you do it in moderation - you listen to your body."