Archived Outdoors

Man finishes lap of the Blue Ridge Parkway

out parkwayrunRay Russell recently finished nearly a month of running with his arrival at the Blue Ridge Parkway’s end in Cherokee. He’d started off May 17 at Milepost 0 near Waynesboro, Virginia, and kept running until reaching the end of the Parkway June 9 — just 20 minutes before finding out that his grandson had just been born.

“It’s the craziest thing I have ever seriously considered doing,” said Russell, 59, who is a professor at Appalachian State University and founded

The purpose of the run was to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service and raise money for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Russell documented the journeys with pictures, videos and a blog at

The run is over, but there’s still plenty need for donations and support. Donate to the Foundation at or volunteer with Friends of the Parkway through

“Investing in the Blue Ridge Parkway,” Russell wrote, “is also an investment in our communities and collective livelihood.” 

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