Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Roger Long, who’s hiked 2,400 miles (all over the country, and in Africa!) since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s 11 years ago.
Here’s what he had to say:
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
In less than a year, I completed the Bataan Memorial Death March (a 26.2 mile hike through the New Mexico desert) twice, summited 12 Colorado 14ers, and reached the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania last August as part of a Team Fox expedition.
How did you achieve it?
For the Bataan march, I hiked 5-10 miles 5-6 days a week for a year wearing a weighted backpack. To prepare for the Kilimanjaro climb, we moved to Colorado for a year to train on the mountains at high elevations.
What motivates you to make the world a better place?
People. Beginning with my wife and two adult sons (and my older son’s family including our granddaughter who is due in October) and extending to those who are battling and overcoming obstacles to achieve extraordinary things every day.
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
When I began my recovery, I started by switching to a mostly paleo/whole foods diet. Then, I began with walking, progressed to hiking, then to mountain climbing, and I’m now training to run the 38th Marine Corps Marathon this October. Running is my newest obsession — when I’m not running, I’m thinking about my next run.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Embrace hardship; use it to your advantage. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”
What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles? It’s the ability to support two charities that are very close to my heart while getting in the miles I need to fight PD. Every mile helps one of two groups of people who are very important to me: those fighting PD (raising funds for the Michael J. Fox Foundation); and, as the father of two Marines, wounded veterans (raising funds for Wounded Warrior Project).
Who do you exercise for, and why? First and foremost is my family — I want to be active with them for the rest of my life instead of sitting on the sidelines due to poor health.