When you do something that seems ridiculous to other people, they pay attention to it, said Will Laughlin, of Boulder.
So he hopes that his 261-mile run across Costa Rica -- from the Pacific to the Atlantic, through jungles and up and over volcanoes -- is ridiculous enough to draw some attention to his pet cause, fighting hunger.
"It's partly raising money, and it's partly raising awareness, and whenever we can do one or the other, we feel we're moving ahead," Laughlin said.
He'll start the run Saturday, and plans to finish it in five to eight days.
Laughlin is the co-founder of Nut-rients, a maker of fortified nut butters that has both for-profit and nonprofit components; the nonprofit arm distributes its fortified peanut butter to malnourished children around the world.
"We have a for-profit business attached to it because we want to convert American consumers into philanthropists, just by the act of consumption," he said.
He's also an ultrarunner who has completed grueling races, like the 200-mile Wild West Relay (solo) and the Sahara Race, a 150-mile run through the desert in Egypt.
"To me that's exciting, and quickening and enlightening," he said. "It is painful, but I always come out of these events with some kind of gem or paradigm shift that serves me in every other area of my life."
For this run across Costa Rica, Laughlin mostly will follow the notoriously gnarly La Ruta de los Conquistadores mountain-bike race route, which crosses volcanic mountains and jungle.
"La Ruta goes through some pretty rough parts of Costa Rica that most people don't see," he said. "It's so steep, that literally, if you trip, you can fall a long enough distance to get hurt."
Plus, the route won't always be obvious.
"I'm depending on the little signs they put up still being there -- hopefully they will be," he said. "But there are places where you can get lost where the crew can't follow me, so that's the logistical challenge."
Laughlin's wife, Beth, is the crew chief.
"Our goal is to get him to the finish if at all possible," she said.
"If he dips into those emotional slumps and exhaustion, we're getting him to the next step so he can move out of the slump and keep going."
Beth said she likes the psychological aspect of working on the crew for her husband, and does it often.
"I know him so well -- we've been married for 17 years," she said. "I know intuitively what's going on, even if he's not speaking."
The crew sets safety protocols so Laughlin doesn't have to think or make decisions.
"I'm stupid with fatigue about halfway through these things, so people have to be smart for me," he said. "They're really keeping me from organ failure and catastrophe."
Laughlin said his main anxiety for the run is getting separated from the crew.
"If you're separated for too long, you might not have enough food and water to get from one checkpoint to the next," he said.
Thus he'll carry some of the Nut-rients peanut butter and a survival straw -- a little filter that will allow him to safely drink from of puddles in the jungle, if necessary.
He said the treacherous run actually sounds like fun.
"I would do this whether anybody knew about it or not," he said. "I really like running, and that sounds ridiculous, but I think that's how passion works."