He did this to raise funds and awareness for the Carter Hope Center of Dalton, a residential and out patient substance abuse center, licensed by the State to offer nine month programs for patients to live on the premises and get the help they need.
With less than an hour left he not only accomplished the 131 miles but raised more than $25,000 for the Carter Hope Center.
“I ran five marathons actually in 23 hrs 28 minutes and 31 seconds,” said Ellis. “I stopped then, that was my goal. My feet and legs were really messed up afterwards. I couldn’t even wear shoes for three days because of the swelling. It was by far my strongest run. I had no cramps or stomach issues during the run, which is unheard of. Everything went according to plan.”
The feat ranks Ellis as the fourth all-time American and 14th worldwide.
Ellis said earlier of the event, “for an addict/alcoholic the hard part is trying to not drink or use for 24 hours, one day at a time. My hope is that someone who is struggling with drugs/alcohol will see or hear about me doing this event and they will say to themselves, ‘hey if he can do this, then maybe, just maybe I can stay clean.’”
“I went through the Carter Center myself and turned my life around. They’ve helped a lot of people and it is hard to find a way to repay someone who saved your life, saved so many lives - this is how I repay them.”
Chuck Smith Director for The Carter Hope Center says the Ellis‘ 24 Hours of Hope is a great help to the Center.
“We depend on agencies like United Way, donations and fundraisers like Gregg’s to provide additional funding. Without these efforts, people may not be able to get the help they need. He’s gone above and beyond our imagination to raise funds. Through his efforts he has been an inspiration to people here. Once he started running, others saw how you can improve your quality of life by doing things that are good for you instead of the things that are destructive,” said Smith.
One of Ellis’ biggest supporters is his employer Gordon Hospital.
“A lot of family, friends and co workers from Calhoun came to the event and participated and showed support which really meant a lot to me,” said Ellis.
Throughout the 24 hours, friends, Gordon Hospital coworkers, family, Carter Center employees and patients, training partners and awed spectators took a turn along side him. Donations of a dollar per minute were taken, company sponsor donations grew and fun prizes were given out to keep spirits up.
“This event gets bigger and bigger every year,” he said. “Next year I am going for the world record, 153 miles,” said Ellis.