Runner Takes On Record-Breaking Mission For Mom
SCOTT SIMON, Host:
A former Yale track star is trying to break the record for running the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail - all the way from Canada to Mexico.
But as Dave Iverson, of member station KQED in San Francisco, reports, this long-distance challenge is about more than just making the record books.
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DAVE IVERSON: Sam Fox is running 2,650 miles.
SAM FOX: My goal is to complete the entire trail in 60 days or less.
IVERSON: That's 44 miles a day, a feat that required some unusual training.
FOX: Doing extended periods of time sleeping on rocks; extended hours not drinking enough water, but still having to get from point A to point B.
IVERSON: So have you practiced sleeping on rocks, practiced not having enough water?
FOX: Yeah, I mean, I like doing that stuff. Sometimes your water bottle cracks and you're out of clean water. And then you fill it up a water bottle and you see worms in it, and you decide not to drink it. So you go another 18 hours, and another 20 miles, without any water.
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LUCY FOX: I thought it was absolutely nuts when I first heard about it.
IVERSON: That's Lucy Fox, Sam's mother.
To do what Sam is doing you need motivation. Breaking a record provides one sort; your mom provides another. Ten years ago, Lucy Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. And the attitude she's adopted since got Sam thinking about taking on this run.
FOX: She's tough. My Mom is not Parkinson's disease. So in truth, this isn't about her illness. It's more about what she's taught me.
IVERSON: Sam's run, then, is about taking on challenges in life and on the trail. And he has another goal - to raise a quarter of a million dollars for Parkinson's research.
FOX: I didn't start this and expect to get emails and phone calls saying wow, thank you so much; this is inspiring. And I really - I honestly didn't expect that.
IVERSON: But he got it, from friends and strangers who are showing up to cheer him on and contribute to his cause. And come late October, when Sam finishes his 2,650-mile journey, his mom, Lucy, will be there, too, to greet him.
FOX: And what I'll say to him, probably, is something like, well, how are your feet?
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IVERSON: Spoken like a mom.
FOX: I guess that's really what I am.
FOX: I'm sure my mom would probably appreciate a letter and a hug more than, you know, me putting myself at risk out on a dangerous and remote trail. But this is what she's getting.
IVERSON: It's not the normal thank-you note a son writes to his mom. This thank you includes sore feet, and a check to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
For NPR News, I'm Dave Iverson.
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