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Hartselle Enquirer

Cross-country runner makes stop in Hartselle

Across the Land runner/ walker Jack Fussell, right, friend John McAbee of the Oak Ridge community and Wilson (the push cart) in Hartselle on Monday.
Across the Land runner/ walker Jack Fussell, right, friend John McAbee of the Oak Ridge community and Wilson (the push cart) in Hartselle on Monday.

While en route on foot from Canton., Ga. to Monterey. Calif. runner/walker Jack Fussell spent some time in Morgan County Sunday and Monday as the overnight guest of his friends, John and Valerie McAbee of the Oak Ridge community near Hartselle.

Fussell, 62, had logged 693 miles since Jan. 12 when he stopped at the McAbees. His goal is to reach the California coast, a distance of some 2,500 more miles to go, sometime next fall.

Fussell and his sidekick Wilson, a two-wheel push cart packed with about 70 pounds of supplies are traveling alone, seeking contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association. His goal is to raise $250,000 for Alzheimer’s research. Contributions so far have reached over $16,000.

Fussell’s passion to find a cure for Alzheimers stems from the fact that he lost his father and six brothers and sisters to the disease.

“I have been blessed beyond words,” he said, “and this is my way of giving back something to those who have given me so much.”

Contributions to Alzheimers may be made on Fussell’s website, www.acrosstheland2013.com.

Fussell said the idea to walk across America for Alzheimers resulted from a six-to seven-year period of rigid physical conditioning, during which time he reduced his weight from 272 to a lean 155 pounds.

After reaching that goal, I felt out of sorts and had no major goal to pursue,” he said. “That’s when I began thinking about what I could do to keep in shape and do something worthwhile with my life at the same time.”

“When I took to the road I was thinking I’d probably be spending 90 percent of my nights in the woods sleeping in a pup tent. That has not been the case. The publicity I’ve received from radio, TV and print media precedes me. Most days I have someone stop and offer a night of lodging”

Fussell uses only federal and state highways and runs or walks from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. He is considering retracing his steps by motor vehicle after reaching the west coast on foot.

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