24 hours, 111 miles, great cause

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Bake sales and car washes are nothing compared with Tony Overbay’s fundraising idea. In offering to lend Glen Edwards Middle School’s sports teams a hand, he was on his feet for 24 hours. And like Forrest Gump, Overbay was running. He might have felt like Gump by the time he finished. Running 50 or more miles is nothing new for Overbay. Going that far in a circle was a new trick. Glen Edwards does not have an all-weather track. Overbay inhaled dust from dawn to dusk and then some. “I don’t think I thought that through,” Overbay said Sunday as he was recovering from his one-man ultra marathon. “It was a lot more mental than I expected. I usually go from point A to point B.” Overbay started at 8 a.m. Friday and crossed the finish line Saturday morning after going 111½ miles. He had never gone that far previously. His head may still be spinning from all those laps. He completed 446, including the 4.2-mile run the school was in process of planning when Overbay offered to go 24 hours. The point of Overbay’s run was to raise money for the Save Our Sports campaign at Glen Edwards. His daughter, Alexa, is a seventh-grader at the school and competes with the cross country team. Alexa’s sister, McKinley, will arrive in the fall as a sixth-grader. Overbay wants McKinley to have the same opportunities as Alexa and is doing what he can to keep the school’s sports programs afloat. And what he can do is run. Overbay has survived more than 70 runs of at least 50 miles. His fundraising jaunt nearly came to an early end, however, when he ran into a serious dose of dehydration. The medical consensus was to stop the run. Overbay had lost six pounds. His body was breaking down. “I got four solid medical opinions and they all said to stop,” he said. “I had a real rough patch there.” Overbay could not bear the thought of telling the students that he could not finish what he had started. Many of them had run alongside Overbay during physical education classes on Friday. Several returned after school to take more laps. Four students each ran 10 or more miles with Overbay, going a mile or two at a time. Some brought along their parents, who also took a few laps. “I had no idea that it would affect some of them the way it did,” Overbay said. “I can’t get over that.” He could not stop. Arrangements had been made for lights so he could run through the night with one of his ultra marathon buddies at his side. Pizzas and tacos had been donated for dinner. “The students were so excited,” he said. “I’m a stubborn ultra marathoner. Thankfully, it all worked out. When I saw the sun rise (Saturday morning), I felt like a million bucks at that point.” Overbay stuck around for the school’s 4.2-mile fun run, which was the original fundraiser before he opened his mouth and stuck his feet in it. Even with a full mouth, he still managed a smile.