CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One Charlotte man is preparing for the longest foot journey of his life: 750 miles across the Carolinas.
Richard Sexton is no stranger to marathons and ultra-marathons. He has completed nearly 100 of them in his life. He’s also done six iron-distance triathlons, but his next feat tops them all.
“Rain or shine, we have a goal of 25 miles a day so this will be normal,” Sexton said as he ran in the rain.
He plans to run 25 miles a day for 30 days straight. It will total 750 miles. In preparation, he has been training anywhere from four to seven hours a day. This is all on top of a full-time job and his family.
“It’s all about time management, but I do make a few compromises on my sleep schedule,” Sexton said.
His runs aren’t for beginners. That is because Sexton carries a heavy-weighted ball in his backpack. It’s why he refers to his run as a “ruck.”
“Slappy [the ball] weighs 25 pounds,” Sexton said. “He is representative of the weight and the challenges that families with autism have to deal with.”
He was inspired by his friend Becky Large. She runs the Champion Autism Network, also known as CAN. The national nonprofit trains business employees how to approach and interact with people with autism. Large says families with autism are given cards to show these businesses when they go visit.
“When they go to these certified and aware businesses, by showing the card they know that this is someone with autism on their property,” Large said.
These businesses include hotels, restaurants, entertainment attractions, airports and more. Large wants to raise $50,000 to reach and train more businesses.
“The next step is that we have these businesses that are involved. We have their employees that are autism aware, and then we want to try and create employment opportunities,” Large said.
That’s where Sexton's cross Carolina run comes into play. His goal is to raise that $50,000 for CAN.
“She is making a difference, and I know I can make a difference,” Sexton said. “That is the most important thing about this whole endeavor.”
He admits the training has taken a toll on his body. He has even lost a few toenails. But despite the physical demands, he is determined to keep going.
“There is no doubt there will be some days I just want to put this pack down and give up, I know that,” Sexton said. “But I also know that I have families depending on me, and I want to be a good role model for these kids.”
To support and follow Richard Sexton’s run visit his website here.