Rumson-Fair Haven's Hoye Runs Marathon For Relief Funds

Above is the six hour live stream for the fundraiser, link for donation is here

There are a myriad of problems which marathoners face in their quest to finish 26.2 miles, mental fatigue being one of them. It sounds simple, but a change of scenery can prove invaluable to that end.

When Bobby Hoye hopped on his basement treadmill last weekend to run a fund-raising marathon, the only change of scenery he had was a few movies on his laptop and a small fan to feel the breeze.

The one thing which kept the Rumson-Fair Haven senior from going out of his mind while running in place for more than five hours was that he and buddy Peyton Ming live streamed the event to raise money for the Jersey Shore Medical Center Foundation's COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.

Thanks to Hoye's running -- he completed his quest in 5 hours, 21 minutes -- and Ming's work behind the scenes, they raised $5,600 on the day of the event. That total has since crested $7,000.

"I remember laying down on the couch -- my legs were completely dead -- and being thrilled with what we accomplished," Hoye said. "As the livestream ended and I stepped off the treadmill, there was relief of course. It was the craziest experience of my life. I was shocked that we raised so much money, that we made a difference. That made it worth it to me. Raising $7,000 is fantastic. I absolutely couldn't ask for more."

Hoye and Ming, both 18, have been inseparable in high school, and each year they've planned what they like to call an "adventure." Sophomore year they tackled a half Tough Mudder together. Last year they backpacked through the Appalachian Trail.

Hoye had a couple reasons to approach Ming with his adventure idea for this spring. With an eye toward completing an Ironman Triathlon in July, Hoye had been planning to compete in the New Jersey Marathon on April 26. But the coronavirus pandemic forced everyone into quarantine in mid-March.

Also, like many of us, Hoye was also feeling a bit lethargic due to the quarantine. Live streaming his basement marathon provided focus and drive.

"I wasn't in the best place mentally," Hoye said. "The quarantine was getting to me. We were discouraged because it's senior year. I hadn't seen my girlfriend in six weeks. I used the marathon as an opportunity to better my mental state. When I told Peyton he was all in. We decided to use it as an opportunity to turn a negative as a positive.

"Peyton is one of those people who can get energy. As long as I kept running, that inspired him to finish and bring that energy along with him. He's one of those people who can talk for hours, and that's one of the reasons I trusted him with this."

For his part, Ming never had a doubt that they could pull off the indoor marathon stunt and livestream it to hundreds of potential donors. What caught Ming off guard was how successful their venture was.

"What we accomplished is something unfathomable," Ming said. "I did not think we were going to be able to accomplish this. I'm thankful for him and his ideas. It just shows that bouncing these ideas around can make something amazing."

When Hoye -- who's been the team captain for Rumson's cross-country team, indoor track and outdoor track teams -- jumped on the treadmill on that Sunday for his marathon, there were plenty of sources to keep his mind off the drudgery of running in place.

His parents propped a ladder in front of the treadmill with inspirational messages taped to the rungs, like, "When your legs can't run anymore, run with your heart."

There was a television nearby, and his laptop was perched on another rung so he could watch "Onward," "Pirates Of The Caribbean" and "Guardians Of The Galaxy 2."

From there, it was all about running. The boys' goal was to raise $5,000, and they began their livestream with $1,000 already in the books.

A whiteboard behind the treadmill read: THANK YOU HEALTHCARE HEROES.

"My main goal was to finish. Just happy to finish," Hoye said. "I wanted to float around six miles per hour, but for the most part I covered up the time and the distance on the treadmill with a towel."

To buoy his energy, Hoye drank water mixed with Accelerade powder and ate Honey Stinger energy gels and cups of Mandarin oranges.

"Mentally it was very difficult," Hoye said. "The hardest part for me were the charley horse cramps in my calves. I collapsed on the ground in agony. That was definitely a dark period, and I didn't know if I would finish. But I always remembered why I was doing it, so I started walking it out, jogged for 10-20 minutes and walked again."

In the meantime, Ming was using his boundless energy to cheer on Hoye while calling out donors and chat room supporters on the livestream feed by monitoring five screens at once. His two computer screens monitored the donation page and the chatroom and control panel. Two laptop screens monitored an additional stream and a video call from Hoye. He used his smartphone to track that live chat.

All from the comfort of his office, er, bedroom.

Supporters on the livestream chimed in with chat room cheers like, "Killing it," "Truly legendary," and "Someone get the man a pizza." And when Hoye finished, "Time to take a nap."

Ming talked non-stop for all 321 minutes of Hoye's epic challenge.

"I had done some production work before but never on this scale," Ming said. "We were all on a high during Bobby's run. The big thing for me personally is I'm an extrovert. What I'm like on the stream is what I'm like in person. We bounced off each other's energy. When Bobby finished the marathon and we saw how much money we raised, it was a big sigh of relief."

"There's a great chemistry between us," Hoye said. "We elevate each other. He's a big part of my story."

The paths of Hoye and Ming will divide after senior year. Hoye, an honors student at Rumson, will follow a five-year plan to complete a double major. He'll spend three years at Roanoke College in Virginia to study physics, then two more years at Virginia Tech to study environmental engineering.

Ming, who has posted his impressive artistic work with duct tape online, will pursue graphic design at Chapman University in Orange, Calif.

Rest assured, these pals said they will remain in contact and plan another adventure for next spring when they return home from college.

"Although this last one will be hard to beat," Ming said. "I realize I'm behind the scenes but Bob reminds me it's a team effort and I couldn't be more proud of him as a friend."

Until then, these Rumson classmates have left a legacy of courage and goodwill for many to follow.

"It was about climbing a mountain and getting to the top," Hoye said. "Some people said I was crazy for trying but it was one of the best decisions I've ever made, and I'd do it again if I could. For me it was all about uniting our community and thanking our health care workers. They need to be shown how much we care and respect what they're doing. I'm hoping what Peyton and I did makes a huge impact during these dark times, and maybe it will give people a happy story with hope."