Ellis will be attempting to run 131 miles on a treadmill in 24 hours at the Rush Fitness Center in Dalton. That’s 26.2 miles five times or better said, five marathons back to back, by one man in one day. Sounds crazy? Last year Ellis’ 24 Hours of Hope involved accomplishing over 100 miles in 24 hours on a treadmill. Which he did and raised a lot of funding to boot. He became the 30th man in the world and the seventh american to accomplish the feat.
“This year is going to be even bigger even better. I’m attempting to run five marathons on a treadmill in 24 hours August 31st. If I accomplish the 131 miles, it would rank me 14th in the world and 4th in America,” Ellis said.
The Carter Hope Center is 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.
“Actually, running for 24 hours will be the easy part. 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,’” he said.
“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.”
“You can join in throughout the 24 hours by donating a dollar per minute to exercise along side me. Your work can sponsor you to come by. You’ll get a t-shirt, a goody bag and all the proceeds go to The Carter Center,” Ellis explained.
“It is going to be extremely tough but I’m doing a lot of long runs and trail marathons to prepare,” Ellis said.
He hasn’t had to go it alone either. He is very appreciative of his training partners Richard Hulsey, Brett Waits, Zack Townsend and Pepe Loco.
Ellis’ training for the event averages between 80 and 150 miles of running per week - Fort Mountain, Calhoun to Dalton runs and a weekly long run between 25 to 50 miles. Employees of Firehouse Gym of Calhoun know Gregg very well. He is often seen there from early in the morning to late in the evening running 40 to 50 miles on treadmill.
“Training for an event like this is just a matter of survival. I’ve rolled both ankles (2 torn ligaments), pulled a tendon in my shin, sciatic nerve damage down both legs, tendinitis in both knees, hip problems and more,” said Ellis.
Ellis is referring to the Chatooga 50K he ran a few weeks ago. At mile eight he stepped on a rock. He stopped, tightened his shoe lace and continued the 23 remaining miles. “I ended up getting 6th place overall and went to the doctor when I got back to Calhoun. I was told how severe the injury was and was put in a walking boot for several weeks. But it was all worth it, except for the missed training time,” he said.
“As far as the event goes, I’m excited and ready to go. I am just going to run until I can’t run any more.”
One of Ellis’ biggest supporters is his employer Gordon Hospital. Many fellow hospital workers came out last year to run along side of him and they plan to be there this year as well. “Gregg’s motivation is evident not just in his running but in the work he does for Gordon Hospital,” said Jeni Hasslebrack, Human Resources director for Gordon Hospital.
“Gregg does his job whole heartedly. He gives his all. I am proud of the help he is providing Carter Hope as well as his dedication to Gordon Hospital,” she said.
“Having people stop by and run, ride or use the elliptical with me will really help keep me going,” Ellis added.
Chuck Smith Director for The Carter Hope Center says the Ellis‘ 24 Hours of Hope is a great help to the Center.
“Our nine month program is extremely inexpensive. For $150 a week, residents live on the premises. 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. Gregg has been through the program and now he is back - on our Board of Directors. 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.
Beverly Harris of the Carter Center writes of the event, “The date is Friday, August 31st and we would love your support and participation! It is $1.00 per minute to run/walk, bicycle, or use the elliptical beside Gregg and every dollar goes to the Carter Hope Center. You will receive an event t-shirt and goodie bag just like in a race. The Carter Hope Center has helped hundreds of recovering addicts turn their lives around, not just Gregg. We are privileged to have such a center in our community and we need to do whatever we can to help sustain the center.
“I owe the Carter Hope Center my life”, Gregg says. “They gave an addict like me another chance at life and to break the chains of addiction. I will never ever be able to fully repay them for what they have done for me but I do plan on doing my part to help them anyway that I can. My only hope is that others will join in and support a local program that has saved numerous lives. The Carter Hope Center holds a special place in my heart; please help them so that they can help others just like they helped me,” Ellis said.
To make donations or for the rest of Ellis’s amazing story of recovery can go to: http://www.razoo.com/story/24-Hours-Of-Hope-Carter-Hope-Center If anyone is interested in participating they can call Karah Smith 706-264-8026. Or Carter Hope Center 706-226-7044.