STEUBEN, Maine — A man running from St. Stephen, New Brunswick, to Key West, Florida, to promote healthy lifestyles spent Thursday night in Steuben.
Stephen Moyer of Newtown, Pennsylvania, said his daughter Stephanie, 24, and her boyfriend drove him to St. Stephen July 10 for his departure.
“They waved goodbye and I walked across the border into Calais Saturday morning [July 11],” Moyer said, while stopped alongside Route 1 in Steuben at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday. He was on his way to the Mainayr Campground to spend the night before heading to Ellsworth Friday.
So far, he has averaged 15 to 20 miles a day and hopes to reach his destination around Thanksgiving, he said. The distance is almost 2,000 miles via highway, according to Yahoo maps. He plans to “hug the coast” and stay on Route 1 as much as possible, which will no doubt add distance to the journey.
So, why is he doing this?
“That is the question my wife continues to ask me,” he quipped.
But he added that he is a health teacher and a track and field coach at the George School, near Philadelphia.
“As a health teacher, I’m constantly telling kids, ‘You’ve got to get out there, you’ve got to do something,’” he said.
The run was a way to lead by example.
Moyer also said his wife, Laurie, and daughter, Kerri, 28, have multiple sclerosis.
“If you want to increase your quality of life, the doctors are begging you to stay fit,” he said, adding the run is “just crazy enough” to raise awareness and, perhaps, attract the attention of donors.
A link on his website at canadatokeywestcoastalrun.org allows donors to give money or “stuff,” which could be anything from a pair of shoes to a night’s lodging.
Moyer estimates the run will cost $10,000 to $12,000.
Anything received over and above the cost of the trip will be donated for MS research, he said.
“I’ll probably kick in a substantial sum to MS as well,” he said.
Although he intended for this to be a run, he admits to doing a mix of running and walking because many roads do not have a wide enough berm to run safely, he said.
“Those areas I’m mostly walking so I don’t get hit,” he said.
He also chose a north to south route instead of an east-west route because he thought it would be safer for an individual going it alone.
“If you do an east to west run, you die in the desert or in the mountains if you’re doing an unsupported run like I am,” said Moyer, who is unaccompanied by any individuals or support vehicles.
Moyer wears 60 ounces of fluid strapped across his chest and carries a backpack containing a tent, sleeping pad, a towel and a few items of clothing. He also carries his smartphone and two chargers. He said he can go three days without charging his phone.
“But I can’t go three days without eating,” he said.
One of the challenges has been finding both food and lodging on some of the more desolate stretches of road in Washington County, he said.
He anticipated the run to Ellsworth Friday would be challenging for that very reason. Once he reaches Ellsworth, there are a lot of hotels, restaurants and take-out stands. Few of them, however, are located along the 16-mile stretch from Steuben to Sullivan.
He said most of the Mainers he has met have been “very friendly, super helpful.” One even offered him a ride. He turned it down, saying he wants to actually make the whole trip on foot.
“It’s a labor of love,” he said.