N.C. man finishes 750-mile run for autism awareness in Surfside Beach

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 8:07 PM EDT
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SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A North Carolina man’s 750-mile run through the Carolinas is now over.

The nearly month-long journey wrapped up Wednesday afternoon in Surfside Beach.

Richard Sexton has a lengthy and impressive history of running ultramarathons, but nothing even came close to his 750-mile run.

He wanted to make sure for his biggest project yet, he was doing it for a good cause.

His mission was simple: Raise awareness for autism.

“It far exceeded my expectations in terms of how it was going to go,” Sexton said of his run. “Relatively problem-free. And of course in terms of the fundraising and the awareness we spread.”

During Sexton’s run, he carried a 25-pound exercise ball in a backpack, representing the extra weight parents of kids with autism have to carry every day.

Over the course of the run, Sexton raised more than $43,000 for the Champion Autism Network, which is a Surfside Beach-based non-profit run by Sexton’s longtime friend Becky Large.

“Honestly, it’s like how do you thank somebody and honor somebody? I’m going to start to cry,” Large said shortly after Sexton finished the run. “He’ll say, ‘You don’t need to thank me, people do this all the time!’ No. No. But really amazing.”

Sexton averaged a marathon a day for 29 days straight on his journey.

He ran through brutal rain and soul-sucking heat, but he knew his mission was too important to stop short.

“Every day, being out there and talking to people and being touched by stories of autism, almost every single day that happens,” Sexton said. “That really shows that what we’re doing is necessary.”

Sexton said he doesn’t want to rest for too long. He’s excited to do other ultramarathons, albeit much shorter than 750 miles, in the near future.

“I won’t have too much down time,” he said. “Now that I’m in this kind of conditioning, I want to maybe do some ultras in the next three to six months.”

Even though Sexton raised tens of thousands of dollars for Champion Autism Network, the organization is always in need of donations.

Click here to find out how you can donate.

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