Ultramarathon runner goes the extra mile to bring attention to East Coast trail network

The 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway runs right through Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — An ultramarathon runner is attempting to do something that’s never been done before. Shan Riggs is on a mission to run a 3,000-mile trail, called the East Coast Greenway, from Key West, Florida, to the Canadian border in Maine. It runs through Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and this week, he made his way through Philadelphia via the Schuylkill River Trail.

His partner, Joshuaine Grant, is joining him along the journey, biking a trailer with all of their belongings.

“We're doing about 40 miles a day, so that'll be about 80-ish days total,” Riggs said. “So we started April 16, and we'll probably finish the first week of July.”

Asked how he feels, Riggs said, “Every day, I’m sore — and I've had a few injuries, but they've kind of worked themselves out. So it's just kind of crazy what the body gets used to.”

Two years ago, Riggs ran 3,255 miles from San Francisco to the coast of Connecticut, where he lives, for a food-sharing charity. He says his goal, this time, is “to point visibility and try to raise money for the East Coast Greenway Alliance, which is the small nonprofit that's trying to organize all these different trails and put it all together.”

Dan Paschall, Mid-Atlantic coordinator for the organization, says the route has been in progress since the early 1990s.

“It's about a third complete. So over 1,000 miles of trail already exists on the route connecting 25 major cities and 450 communities from Maine to Florida,” Paschall said.

“It's built up out of local trail projects that are really creating more access to open space, better public health options for transportation that are affordable and sustainable. And it connects people to their neighbors and to other neighborhoods around them.”

Riggs said he hopes his own trek will inspire others to take advantage of the Greenway.

“And,” added Paschall, “we really hope that it helps people get out of their house, off their computers, and see the local networks around.”

Riggs has already completed about 2,000 miles of the trek. He says he expects to make it to Maine by the first week in July.