By Stan Friedman
CROMWELL, CT (October 28, 2011) – Jim Hite stopped just short of the finish line that marked the end of his 50-mile run to benefit Children’s Home of Cromwell. He hadn’t so much as walked all day, but he stopped. And did some jumping jacks.
Ultimately, Hite completed the run in 9:18:48. He told those who gathered that, “I feel like Forrest Gump during the running scene. I’m tired and want to go home.”
Hite, a member of Hilltop Covenant Church, decided to make the run in order to celebrate his birthday, which actually was last Friday, and use the event to raise money for Children’s Home. His efforts raised $10,000, which came from across the country.
The home has been an outreach ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church since 1905 and is the parent organization of two major programs – the Children’s Home Residential Treatment Facility (CHOC) and its affiliate, Children’s Home Community Services. It is a state-of-the-art residential treatment center, special education school, and family treatment center.
Garry Mullaney, the Children’s Home CEO, said the run will enable the ministry to meet serious needs. “Jim came to us at a very important time. We have a brand new program for eight boys with autism and severe behavioral needs. His commitment to help us raise money will assure that we can purchase state-of-the-art equipment and personal items that individualize treatment for them and for so many of our residents.”
“I’m so happy that I was able to achieve my dream of running the 50 miles and having the chance to share my gift of running to help children achieve their dreams,” Hite says. Sharing that gift motivated Hite throughout his extensive training.
Other statistics related to the run:
- 6,000 – the number of calories Hite estimates he burned on Saturday
- 1.5 – the number of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches he ate Saturday
- 4 – the number of GU Chomps energy chews and Nutri-Grain bars he ate
- 42 – average number of miles per week
- 11 – average miles per run
- 7 – times he ran more than 26.2 miles (a marathon) while training
- 3 – times he ran further than 30 miles in a single day
- 55.8 – most miles covering two days
Over the months, Hite ran the equivalent of traveling from South Carolina to his home in Connecticut. He likened his training and the run to preparing for Christmas. “All of that work, and it’s over in a day.”
Hite had never run more than 38 miles in a single day, so the goal he set was far beyond what he dreamed of accomplishing. “Miles 32 to 45 were quite challenging,” Hite says. “I was able to maintain a steady pace, but my mind was wandering, and I felt unsteady at times. I did stop briefly to change shirts, grab food or water, and make a pit stop.”
Around mile 43, crew chief and wife, Jennifer, told him he looked tired and softly asked him “do you want to stop?” “The bottoms of my feet were feeling numb, and my left knee was aching,” he recalled. Hite was surprised to find that he ran the last five miles faster than any of the previous events.
“When the going got tough during the run, I knew that I was not alone and that God was with me,” Hite says. “Having faith gave me strength.”
“A big boost for me was having Garry present the whole day as well as all the support I received from my church,” he added.
Hite has not been a lifetime runner. In 2008, his physician warned him that his excessive weight was leading to a number of other health concerns. Hite already was pre-diabetic.
Shaken by the physician’s warning, Hite went to the track and walked one lap, then wondered if he could run one more. The former high school athlete barely made it around.
Hite changed his diet and kept running. Since then, he has lost 65 pounds and has run several marathons, including the Boston race. Click here to read more about Hite’s 50 steps to a healthier future.
The idea for the benefit came to Hite during one of his regular runs. His regimen often took Hite by the children’s home.
As he passed by the home one day, he thought, “We need to support our children mentally and physically because they are our future; healthy minds and healthy bodies lead to healthy souls.”
Two days following the race, Hite ran three miles. “Right now I’ll just go out for runs and enjoy them without a specific goal,” he says. “My next goal will be the 2012 Boston Marathon that I’m scheduled for. Training for that begins in January.”