This week, Adam Casseday of Beverly will set out on a quest to run 30 to 40 miles a day for the next 70 days in order to complete the 2,174 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Accompanying Casseday will be his wife, Kadra, who will supply relief with food and gear.
"To me, the hardest part of all of this will be running that distance every day for the next 70 days," Casseday said.
Casseday is active with the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners. He also directs the Cheat Mountain Moonshine Madness 50-mile trail run in August, and co-directs the West Virginia Trilogy - a three-day race which takes place in October in the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area.
Adam Casseday and wife, Kadra, will traverse up to 100 miles a week as they take on the nearly 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail. Beginning this week, the Cassedays plan to run the trail for the next 70 days.
For his present trek, Casseday has been training by running up to 100 miles a week.
"I ran all winter," he said.
In addition to the training, Casseday, has been planning.
"For two years, I have been planning this trip," he said. "This is a once in a lifetime experience. "
Casseday is employed as an optometrist at Valley Health Care in Mill Creek. He will be taking time off from his duties and his patients, in order to fulfill his goal.
"I am grateful that my patients are allowing me time off to go and do this," he said. "There will another doctor who will fill in for me, while I am away. I really felt like now was the time to go. Before my wife and I start having children, I wanted to do this."
Kadra Casseday teaches art to elementary students in Randolph County and has been educating them on the Appalachian Trail. She plans to record Casseday's progress and post information online, so students can follow their trip. Geared toward a young audience, the information will be available at www.trailrunnerkids.blogspot.com. She also will be creating artwork of the trail during their experience.
The Cassedays will be traveling the Appalachian Trail south to north. They will depart from Georgia and pass through North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
"I am looking forward to going through Virginia," he said. "We have friends in Virginia we are planning to see. I am also really looking forward to New Hampshire and Maine."
He hopes to reach Maine by mid-July.
Casseday plans to run the trail in an ultralight manner, carrying on himself the food and water he needs to sustain himself for that run. His wife will meet him at crossroads sections to resupply.
"We will be camping out,' he said. "We won't have air mattresses. We will have sleeping pads. We will spend about one night a week in a hotel."
Casseday said he feels overwhelmed by keeping his energy level up.
"I will have to be eating 5,000 to 6,000 calories a day," he said. "It is going to be hard for me to eat all that food. Between the eating and the running everyday, those will be my biggest challenges."
Casseday is hoping his journey will inspire others to spend more time outdoors.
"My mother-in-law will be walking a mile a day, while I am doing all of this. I hope more people will become more active and get out on the trails," he said. "There are some great trails around here at Otter Creek and on Cheat Mountain and on Pheasant Mountain."
Casseday is relying on his faith to carry him through this journey.
"I am a Christian and I am relying on Philippians 4:13 which says 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me' to do this," he said. "If people would pray for my wife and I while we are out on the trail, I would really appreciate it."
To follow Casseday on his journey, watch the couple's blog at www.wvultrarunner.blogspot.com.