An Ultra Marathon with Meaning

My name is Richard J Oliver. I am an artist/painter and a adventurer on a journey of self-discovery. One of my main pathways to being is the meditation of running, specifically trail running. My inspiration is initiated by both the magnificence and subtleties of the wilderness and moving energetically through nature I am able to access my own.

I have decided to enter the Valencia 50K Ultra Marathon this month on the 20th March. It’s the longest recorded distance I have ever attempted to run and to make things even more challenging, I am transitioning from minimal to barefoot and my hope is to run it in earth runner sandals, inspired by the Native American people of Northwestern Mexico called the Rarámuri. My goal is simply to cross the finishing line within the allotted time, on my own two feet. 

I opted to enter this challenge to raise money to support a cause which affects my family and is close to my heart. In December of 2013, we discovered that our 11-month old had a rare genetic condition called Williams Syndrome. WS is characterised by medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning disabilities.  These often occur side by side with striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music. Williams Syndrome affects 1 in 10,000 people worldwide – an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States. It is known to occur equally in both males and females and in every culture.


Unlike disorders that can make connecting with your child difficult, children with Williams Syndrome tend to be social, friendly and endearing. Parents often say the joy and perspective a child with WS brings into their lives had been unimaginable. But there are major struggles as well. Many babies have life-threatening cardiovascular problems. Children with WS need costly and ongoing medical care and early interventions and the difficulties extend into adult life.

It was only natural for me to set up a sponsorship page to raise money for the Williams Syndrome association which is is a non-profit organization that strives to enrich the lives of individuals and families affected by Williams Syndrome and similar conditions through support, research and education.

So as I prepare for this ultra, I’m using my feet to power me and raise money to support Williams Syndrome. To sponsor me and make a donation please visit my page at:


For those interested in following my progress and further insights into what motivates me to run check out my Instagram: @richardjoliver