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Spanish athlete pedals 60 hours to collect food for the poor

While pedaling the stationary bike in Mexico, a 75-year-old man arrived with his grandson. He told me, “I couldn't bring you more than a kilo of beans because at home I only have two.” I felt relieved he could not see my eyes watering. Many times, I have witnessed that those who have the least, give the most.

Rubén López Escudero
Interview Subject
Rubén López Escudero is a Spanish athlete who owns a sporting events company. He is a speaker, activist, publicist, writer, and blogger. He calls himself a restless soul who assumes life has an expiration date and you have to enjoy it with new people around you.

Rubén has completed 17 physical challenges to raise tons of food for the neediest people. He swam the Bermuda triangle, crossed the North Pole at -40 degrees in one week, ascended Mount Kilimanjaro three times in five days, and his next challenge is to pedal a bicycle for 72 hour without stopping.

Before each challenge, Rubén spends a month among olive and pine trees in Andalusia, Spain, to achieve concentration. With his next challenge, he hopes to raise a minimum of 15 tons of food for the community of Los Molles, San Luis, an aboriginal area in Argentina. He is on Instagram.
Background Information
Rubén seeks to eradicate hunger. Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean is at its highest point since 2000. According to the Regional Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security 2021, in just one year during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people living with hunger increased by 13.8 million, reaching a total of 59.7 million people. The prevalence of hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean currently stands at 9.1 percent, the highest in the last 15 years, although slightly below the world average of 9.9 percent. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, the prevalence of hunger increased by 2 percentage points.

Rubén’s extreme challenges include three ascents to Kilimanjaro in 5 days, traveling 250 km nonstop in 7 days at the North Pole, paddling 355 km in 5 days in the Amazon, running 280 km in 5 days in the Amazon, running 280 km in the Atacama Desert, diving with a whale shark in the Philippines, swimming 20 km in the Bermuda Triangle, and pedaling nonstop for 1,689 km in 48 hours and 2,177 km in 60 hours.

MALAGA, Spain ꟷ As I pedaled a stationary bike for 60 hours to collect 15 tons of food, my mind went blank. I focused on the non-stop sound of the bicycle roller. It felt strange.

Suddenly, I became aware of the connection between my legs, my heart, and my soul. Pain inexplicably ran through my entire body, but at the same time something made it feel pleasant and powerful.

Full of energy, I achieved the challenge I set for myself to deliver food to poor children in Mexico.

Extreme challenges by athlete in Spain inspire others to become philanthropic

As I continued pedaling my stationary bike, I remember this moment of fullness and complete absence of pain. I could think of everything and nothing.  Looking at the numbers moving forward on the machine, I focused on the sound. Alone with myself, the good energy and positive vibes I needed came from my own mind.

Several years ago, I started this crazy adventure of sports challenges to help those in need by collecting food. I intended to attract attention by doing unprecedented things to encourage more people to donate. I know I am not going to end world hunger, but if I can spark solidarity in at least one person with each new challenge, it is enough for me.

The feeling of success and inspiring others satisfies me. Not long ago, I was in Costa Rica, traveling along a route mainly surrounded by volcanoes. The owner of the hotel where I stayed had two daughters. They saw what I do and months later, he wrote to me.

He said his youngest daughter, who was 5 years old, wanted to distribute colored pencils to children who could not afford them for her birthday. She told him when she grows up, she wants to be like Mr. Rubén. When I remember those words, I get goosebumps. It motivates me to keep going.

Food needs amongst the poor abound and the challenges continue

Delivering the food I collect stimulates intense emotions. It feels nice, but also sad because this food is very basic. Some people are so happy to receive a kilo of rice because they have nothing to eat. I am just one human being trying to help hundreds of thousands of people. If we all did something, nobody’s house would lack food.

Sometimes, in the middle of a challenge, my body reconnects to my mind and I get tired. Pain sets in and I ask myself, what am I doing here? Then people show up with all the love in the world to donate food and that affects me even more than my deliveries.

While pedaling the stationary bike in Mexico, a 75-year-old man arrived with his grandson. He told me, “I couldn’t bring you more than a kilo of beans because I only have two at home.” I felt relieved he could not see my eyes watering. Many times, I have witnessed that those who have the least, give the most.

One day I hope to become a father. I love children, but still have not found that right person to share my adventure with. So, for now, this work is my greatest challenge and desire in life. I have an infinite list of extreme challenges I still want to do.

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Honduran journalist with more than 12 years of experience in the media. A communication and advertising sciences graduate of the University of San Pedro Sulha, Xochilth has worked on different radio and television channels and taught at the university level. She currently collaborates as an editor of a digital newspaper.