Running with Purpose

Major Zack Samuel-Burnett (Sep) is no runner. In fact, this Rocklin resident prefers to fly. He served more than 10 years in the U.S. Air Force flying multiple aircraft including the U-2S and is now a commercial airline pilot. He woke up one morning last year with an incredible urge to run a marathon.

After much discussion with his wife and 3 children, Zack started training in September for the Avenue of the Giants Marathon to be held on May 5. The run takes place in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, 40 miles south of Eureka and is described as one of the most scenic courses in the country. The marathon is a certified Boston Marathon qualifier. Through his run, Zack’s goal is to raise $1,000 for Shoulder To Shoulder, a Sacramento-based youth development program exclusively serving fatherless boys in Del Paso Heights.

Zack grew up much of his life with only one parent present and was even homeless for a time as a teen. He now wants to help “make a difference” in the lives of urban fatherless young men. In just six months, Zack has already logged 679.46 miles in 110 hours of training and has reached the halfway point of his fundraising goal. He tracks his mileage on MapMyRun then posts his results on Facebook so friends can follow his progress and gain interest in his cause.

Contributions to Zack’s “running with purpose” can be made at   As a commercial airline pilot, Zack trains during layovers in different cities around the country. So far he’s trained in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Milwaukee, Nashville, San Antonio, Ontario, St. Louis, Portland, Kansas City, Spokane, Omaha, Albuquerque, Tucson, Pittsburgh, El Paso, New Orleans, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

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