“Life is not about how much you have, or about how much you don’t have. It’s about striving in the process of life with the things you do have because you’re already thankful.” Rumen Hulmequist
These very words will guide Rumen Hulmequist, a senior in the Exercise Science Department of Southwest Minnesota State University on Friday, September 7. At 10 a.m. at that very university in Marshall, Minnesota he will begin a historic journey where no one has ever gone—a full body endurance marathon over 24 hours. Rumen explains, “There are many types of endurance marathons; some involve running, biking and swimming, but my endurance marathon emphasizes the four different muscle groups: swimming, pushups, leg raises and jumping jacks.”
Rumen’s upcoming journey is wrought with risk and great peril. Make no mistake that exercise is good for you. However, even too much of a good thing can wear and tear on muscles and joints. Chronic overload on the heart and lungs can result in partial scarring of the muscular chambers of the heart. More on how Rumen plans to address those dangers later in this story.
Ask Rumen about the benefits of such a rigorous marathon and he’ll give you 10,001 reasons why he has to do it. “I plan to raise $10,000,” he announced in a July 6 LIVE Facebook interview. The other reason is personal, “Every penny of that amount will be used to draw attention to the blessings of international adoption—particularly the Bulgarian orphanage I was raised in until I was four years old.”
Rumen still remembers Bulgaria. In 2015 many of those memories were refreshed when he returned and met his biological parents and several family relatives. Rumen witnessed firsthand the poverty of his biological family and the country in which he was born. Perhaps that is one of the reasons he frequently gushes about his adoptive parents, Sue Quist and Dale Hulme. “They’re fantastic parents. They’ve given me a dream life and I now believe I need to give some of that back to the orphanage that made my adoption possible.”
Rumen is a true son of the Webber-Camden area. He’s lived his entire life within a stone’s throw of Webber Park. He was raised in a family that prized athletic participation at that park and on the Northside. Rumen’s father, Pastor Dale Hulme, is a foundational figure in North Minneapolis hockey. Rumen played that game competitively all the way up his sophomore year at Patrick Henry High School when he opted to join the Patriot wrestling team. Rumen credits the dogged mentality he developed as a wrestler for giving him the fortitude for endurance training. “In wrestling you really don’t ever get a chance to kick back and relax.” Rumen was also the mainstay as a catcher for the Patriot baseball team, and goalie for the soccer team for his entire four years at Patrick Henry.
The other key component of Rumen’s upbringing is his involvement in St. Olaf Lutheran Church at 2901 Emerson Avenue North where his father is the pastor. Though he never competed on the Henry swimming team, Rumen has a love for swimming that goes back to his time as a youngster when his father took him to the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Rumen remembers the joy of swimming in those cold waters—a memory he revels in as he trains tirelessly to complete 10 miles in the pool on September 7.
Now, to the question of Rumen’s health and safety during this training regimen, and especially over the 24-hour marathon beginning September 7. It seems he has trained all his life for this event. He certainly has been training for the last two years, beginning with the preparation for an August 5, 2017 10-hour fundraising challenge on the battle ropes, “10 Hours for 10 Causes” (cancer, adoption, rape, sex trafficking, bullying violence, feminism, world starvation, racism and education), that set an unofficial record in the Guinness World Records. Since that time Rumen has filled his days with even more intense educational, motivational and physical conditioning. This summer he has trained six days a week, stopping only to eat meals consisting of a whole food diet of 5,000 calories, and to sleep eight to nine hours per day. He often trains at Webber Park, wearing a special breathing apparatus that drives more oxygen into his bloodstream creating a robust cardiovascular system. Rumen will leave the Twin Cities for the entire month of August to train exclusively in the higher altitudes of Denver, Colorado.
With the full support and monitoring of the Exercise Science Department at Southwest Minnesota State University, Rumen is more certain than ever that he will be fully prepared for the marathon on September 7. All he needs now is money for the cause—supporting his birthplace orphanage in Bulgaria. Make a contribution to help Rumen reach his goal of $10,000. Checks should be made out to: 10,000 24-Hour, and send to Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, attn: Development Team, 2485 Como Avenue, St. Paul, MN, 55108. You can also contribute online at lssmn.org/give/ and click “donate now” gift destination type “10,000 24-Hour.”
“Once someone has gratitude, that creates a certain fortitude that can reach any altitude.” Rumen Hulmequist