Jim Parry completed a grueling endurance challenge last year by running and walking 96 miles in 24 hours.
This year, he believes he can do even better.
Parry, a sixth-grade teacher at Stewartville Middle School, is organizing the second annual "Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge," encouraging students, his fellow teachers and other local residents to put in 24 hours worth of exercise from now until late April. Then, on Thursday, April 29, Parry will take on his portion of the challenge, covering as many miles as he can in 24 hours.
He'll start from the Stewartville High School track at 8:30 a.m. on the appointed day, running and walking around a four-mile loop until 8:30 the following morning. His new goal is to cover 100 miles.
"From midnight to 2 a.m. last year was really rough," he said. "That part of it, I don't remember much at all. I know I was eating less as time went on. This year I'll be focusing on taking in more food."
Last year, Parry wanted to teach his students the importance of persevering through difficult situations.
"My focus last year was, 'What do you do when things get tough?'" he said. "Do you quit, or do you keep moving forward as best you can? My focus this year will be, 'What do you do if you attempt something and you don't quite get there? You should plan, reassess and go at it again."
Parry hopes his endurance challenge inspires and motivates others to get out and be active. Last year, a number of people heard about or took his endurance challenge and were later moved to begin an exercise program. Joe Jezierski, principal of Stewartville Middle School, for example, began running and bicycling, completed the Med City Half Marathon and plans to run a full marathon this year.
"I was motivated and inspired by the changes other people were making in their lives," he said.
Parry encourages students and other Stewartville and area residents to join him as he runs and walks around the four-mile city loop on Thursday, April 29 into Friday, April 30.
Last year, he thanked a number of people who supported him during his 24-hour effort, including Lee Weinhold, John Dzubay, Mickie Tuseth, Hannah Calhoun and Jezierski.
"Without them, I never would have finished," he said after last year's event. "If I had been out there by myself, I couldn't have done it."
To sign up for Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge or for more information, log onto http://mrparrysendurancechallenge.ning.com.
Editor's note: Jordan Parry, Jim Parry's son, was pictured on the front page of the Tuesday, Feb. 16 edition of the Stewartville STAR. Jordan, a kindergartner, was sliding down a hill near Bonner Elementary School.
Jordan's last name was mistakenly spelled "Perry" in the photo caption. The STAR apologizes for the error.