Endurance Athlete Takes on Great Wall in ‘Mission 5 Million’ Run

Mannatech started its Mission 5 Million (M5M) movement last year to fight global child malnutrition through “One Simple Act”—purchasing nutrition products. The company’s mission has inspired one long-time Mannatech user to contribute his own simple but remarkable act. Ultra-endurance athlete Jason Lester is preparing for a 100-day solo run along the Great Wall of China to raise awareness of childhood malnutrition worldwide.

The World Health Organization estimates that 5 million children under age 5 die of malnutrition every year. Mannatech has used its Real Food Technology ® to create a PhytoBlend powder that provides children with their daily nutritional needs. Through the company’s social entrepreneurship model, every purchase of a Mannatech nutrition product triggers a donation of PhytoBlend to a child in need.

“When I heard the number—that over 5 million kids die each year from malnutrition—the first thing that came to my mind was: That is not acceptable,” Lester shared in a promotional video. “I’m going to put my feet to action, and I already know that I’m not going to stop until I reach the finish.”

Lester’s herculean M5M China Run is raising support to provide a one-year supply of PhytoBlend to 50,000 children. Along the way, he might also become the first solo runner to complete the 2,500-mile Great Wall. The Running on Faith author has faced down bigger challenges in the past. At age 12, he was struck by a car while riding his bike. While recovering from 21 broken bones, a collapsed lung and a paralyzed right arm, Lester lost his father and sole guardian.

A few years later, Lester was competing in running and biathlon events. He would go on to become the first challenged athlete ever to complete the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii on Nov. 30, 2008. For the uninitiated, ultramen swim 6.2 miles, bike 261.4 miles and run 52.4 miles to the finish line. ESPN awarded Lester its “Best Male Athlete” ESPY Award in 2009.

Lester helps others unleash their own potential in his roles as Founder, Chairman and Chief Inspiration Officer of EP1C Inc., Founder and President of EP1C Performance and Endurance Center in Kona, Hawaii—his current home—and Founder and Chairman of The NEVER STOP Foundation, aimed at helping youth overcome obstacles in their lives through a platform of arts and athletics.

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Direct Selling News Magazine has been serving direct selling and network marketing executives since 2004. Each issue of Direct Selling News offers content on topics that shape the dynamics of our industry.

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