WILMINGTON, N.C. — As if a long run wasn't hard enough alone, a man in Wilmington is in the process of running 100 miles backward in just 48 hours to raise money for a cause that's close to his heart.


What You Need To Know

Tracy McCullen is running 100 miles in 48 hours, attempting to raise $100,000 for the Boys and Girls Club

The money will go toward an educational and interactive track and field behind the current facility

The hope is that this will encourage kids to believe in themselves and go the extra mile in life


Last December, Tracy McCullen ran 100 miles in 100 hours to raise money to build a state-of-the-art track and field complex for the Community Boys and Girls Club, but after completing that mission, he realized he couldn't just stop there. 

Tracy McCullen runs backward with the Community Boys and Girls Club Director, Jarett Gattison.

“I decided that I needed to do it again, because I really love going the extra mile for the kids,” McCullen said. “So many kids just have no idea what a big and beautiful world of infinite possibilities are out there waiting for them. They sometimes just need their eyes opened to all these unlimited possibilities.”

This year, he's upped the ante by cutting the time in half, meaning he'll be running through the night, but loss of sleep is a small sacrifice for him when he remembers the reason he's doing this in the first place. 

“It's part insanity and part just always wanting to do things a little differently,” McCullen said. “But the one thing is the everything, and that's the kids. My passion, my love, for trying to come up with creative ways to help them have a better future.”

McCullen never had a mentor to push him toward his dreams while he was growing up, which is why he sees his role in these kids' lives as so important. His hope is that the time and energy he pours into them will inspire them to live out their dreams to the fullest and see their potential like he does. 

The preliminary designs for the Optimism Oasis.

“Although I may not be a one-on-one mentor with these kids, I feel like I'm a mentor in helping them to see that they can achieve anything that they truly desire and are willing to work hard for,” McCullen said.

Once completed, the Optimism Oasis will feature the Track of Optimism and the Field of Dreams along with an amphitheater, skateboard bowl and obstacle course. It's meant to be enjoyed by all the kids in the community, not just those at the Boys and Girls Club, and will be open to the public seven days a week.

“I will definitely finish, and it'll be a great accomplishment,” McCullen said. “But the next day I'll get up and keep moving forward with the design and the development of this amazing project, the Track of Optimism and the Field of Dreams.”

He hopes to complete his run Wednesday at noon at UNCW's track and field complex where the community can come out to cheer him on.