'It felt like Forrest Gump': Man runs from Long Island to New York City for charity

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Saturday, July 11, 2020
LI man runs 131 miles to NYC to raise money for charity
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One man's act of kindness stretched from the very end of Long Island all the way to New York City.

MONTAUK, Long Island (WABC) -- One man's act of kindness stretched from the very end of Long Island all the way to New York City.

Running a marathon, 26.2 miles, is an incredible accomplishment for everyone who crosses the finish line.

But what about five marathons ... in a row?

That's 131 miles, and that's the distance from Montauk to Brooklyn.

Ryan Clifford, 23, had a goal to run from Montauk Point State Park to Brooklyn in under 24 hours.

"It was kind of cool being able to do the land mass, and I think that was kind of the big drive behind this, doing all of Long Island," Clifford said.

So just after midnight Tuesday morning, the 23-year-old from Seaford, who's now a graduate assistant and coach at Minot University in North Dakota, began the journey with only essential stops along the way.

"There were a couple points where my support group was like 'hey, we want you to run, but you need to eat food,' but it was awesome, we had people following along and joining in, it felt like Forrest Gump as it got closer to Nassau County and New York City, more people were joining in, it was crazy," Clifford said.

All of this was to raise money for the John Theissan Children's Foundation.

His goal was to raise $5000, but he has more than doubled that goal and continues to receive donations for the foundation.

"Everything that's going on in the world right now, we wanted to be able to do something good ... and not just running to run across Long Island, you're running for charity," Clifford said.

As far as his time goal of 24 hours? It was no problem. Clifford completed the 131 mile journey ahead of schedule in 22 hours.

"I don't know what I'm going to now if they ask me what are you going to do after this," Clifford said. "I'm just going to keep running for fun and exercise."


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