Going the Distance for Palmer Woods
Imagine running the entire length of M22—117 miles, over a 30 hour stretch. Who would do that? Andy Belanger, that’s who, and he did it to raise funds in support of the Palmer Woods 1000-Acre project. He started his run after work the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and paced through the night, which he described as the favorite part of his odyssey. “The pitch black along the National Park where it was so peaceful and I could see the stars, floating eyes and hear coyotes and frogs,” said Andy.
He raised over $5,000 in donations that were matched by two foundations, tripling the amount donated by his fans. “I’m thrilled. I love the outdoors, camping, and keeping our water clean is huge to me. We live in paradise up here.”
Andy’s intention was to complete the run in 30 hours. But 75 miles in and 21 hours later, he couldn’t keep food or water down on a lunchtime rest stop. He had to call it quits for the day, but hit the road again the next morning. “It was Sunday and I thought, I gotta go out and finish this,” says Andy. “I didn’t want to let people down.” Finish he did, 42 miles and 11 hours later.
Executive Director Tom Nelson met up with Andy in Suttons Bay along the way to thank him and hand off a Conservancy swag bag. “He was clearly in a lot of pain,” says Tom. “His feet were taking a beating, but he was in great spirits. I can’t imagine the stamina and sheer willpower to do what he did. What a guy.”