Jim Parry won't be the only one exercising for 24 consecutive hours this Thursday and Friday.
Parry, a sixth-grade teacher at Stewartville Middle School, plans to cover as much ground as possible around a four-mile city loop from Thursday, April 19 at 8:15 a.m. until Friday, April 20 at 8:15 a.m.
Parry issues "Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge" each year to inspire his students, fellow teachers and other local and area residents to exercise for their health and to perhaps even do something extraordinary. Those who participate are expected to exercise for 24 hours over an extended period of time, whether it's a week, two weeks, a month or longer. Parry then completes his part of the Challenge by running and walking as far as he can for 24 consecutive hours.
Kyle Amos, a physical education teacher at Moonlight Elementary School in Gardner, Kansas, will attempt to exercise for 24 consecutive hours at the same time Parry will be running and walking the streets of Stewartville this Thursday and Friday. Amos contacted Parry about 1 1/2 years ago to see if Parry would be interested in expanding "Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge."
"He completed a 24-hour run last April," Parry said. "He contacted me (again) in October. We'll be doing our runs at exactly the same time. We'll be starting and ending at the same time."
Thanks to modern technology, Stewartville's students will be able to keep in contact with Amos' school in Kansas to monitor Amos' progress, Parry said.
"We'll use technology so kids (from both schools) can connect with one another and to show that the event is going on in a bigger area than just their own school," he said.
Also, Stewartville's students will have access to a live tracking feature that will allow them to follow exactly where Parry is on his running route in real time. The link to the live tracking feature will be available at http//runkeeper.com/user/JimParry/activity.
As of last Wednesday, April 11, about 500 people across the country had signed up for "Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge."
"It's been my plan all along to expand the Challenge to as many people as possible," Parry said.
Three years ago, Parry completed his first "Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge" by running and walking 96 miles in 24 hours. Two years ago, he covered 100 miles in a few minutes less than a full day. Last year he added a new twist to the event, running one 26.2-mile marathon per day for seven consecutive days, finishing by completing the Med City Marathon in Rochester.
Parry hasn't set any mileage goals for this year's event.
"I'm not going to put myself in a position where I'm not enjoying my 24 hours," he said. "I'd be really happy with 80 miles. The plan is to get through it as comfortably as I can."
Typically, Parry eats ham sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and oatmeal raisin cookies during his 24-hour ordeal. Sponsored by Gu, he plans to eat Gu Chomp fruit snacks, which provide plenty of carbohydrates and sugar. He drinks Mountain Dew and Coca-Cola for quick energy and makes sure he takes in plenty of water as well.
Parry invites adults and children alike to join him during his 24-hour endurance test around the Stewartville loop.
"Anyone can show up throughout the day on Thursday," he said. "There's no sign-up needed."
At the urging of others, Parry will take some precautions at this year's event.
"There will be a doctor with me the entire overnight," he said.