Man running entire Blue Ridge Parkway

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. One man is using that milestone to mark one of his own along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Blue Ridge Parkway takes long enough to drive, let alone run. Ray Russell knows that first hand.

The weather is finally cooperating for Ray's 469 mile run. His quick breaks are just as important as his 20 mile per day pace.

Ray Russell said, “I can't do so much that I can't get back up the next day to go run again.”

He’s already run ten marathons and he lives half a mile from the parkway in North Carolina. He also has a website set up dedicated to weather conditions along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Russell said, “Well, you've got to be a little crazy to do this, but there is a cause behind it.”

"Relay with Ray" is what he's calling his trip that started last Tuesday. He's using it to raise money for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. He's also running to give recognition to groups like Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

"I know 100 people that could do it better than me and I know 100 people who are crazy enough to do it,” he said. “I'm just the only person in that intersection."

This Appalachian State University professor wants people to go outside and connect with the National Park in our backyard.

"It's really important I think for us to preserve what we've got here,” he said. "I'm getting the ultimate vacation. I'm getting to see it all on foot."

If all goes as planned, Ray will wrap up his run in North Carolina around June 10.

Ray is writing about his trip online. You can read about his progress and find out how to contribute by looking at the “Related Links” on the right-hand side of this article.