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March 30, 2023

3/7/2013 10:05:00 AM
Mr. Parry inspires "Stewie Day at the Y"
Jim Parry, who ran and walked for 100 miles in about 24 hours in 2010, gets encouragement from his students as he begins his Endurance Challenge that year.
Jim Parry, who ran and walked for 100 miles in about 24 hours in 2010, gets encouragement from his students as he begins his Endurance Challenge that year.
"Run Jim Run!"
That's what many students and their families may be chanting during Stewie Day at the Y this Friday, March 8.
That's because Jim Parry, a sixth-grade teacher at Stewartville Middle School, plans to run on a treadmill at the Rochester Area Family Y from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. that day.
Parry hopes to run in place for those 16 hours, or for the equivalent of about 70 miles, to raise money for the YMCA Annual Support Campaign, which provides Y memberships and program scholarships for those in financial need who want to live healthier lives.
The Rochester Area Family Y will offer special Stewie Day at the Y guest passes for Stewartville students and their families, who will be encouraged to watch Parry run and enjoy the YMCA on a non-school day.
Stewartville guests will pay a $10 fee to enter the Y. Those funds will be donated to the Annual Support Campaign. Guests should bring a driver's license or a Stewartville ID to prove they're from Stewartville.
Parry will run on the center treadmill of three treadmills placed in the YMCA lobby. Other runners will join him on either side for half-hour intervals throughout the day. Dr. David Thompson, superintendent of the Stewartville School District, and Steve Gibbs, principal of Stewartville Middle School, will be two of the guest runners.
Parry has set a goal to raise $5,000 for the Y for this year's campaign. He likes to help the YMCA because the organization was very generous to him and his family when he was a boy. He and his brother both received YMCA scholarships.
"When I was young my family really did not have much money at all," he said. "There were months when we did not have money for food...It was through the generosity of others that I was able to do some of the things that I never would've had the chance to do. Attending Y camps was one of those. So I feel like it is my time to pay that forward."
The Endurance Challenge:
Parry started Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge in 2009. Through that event, he challenges his students and others in the community to exercise for a total of 24 hours over a period of time determined by each participant. That first year, Parry completed his portion of the Challenge by running and walking 96 miles in 24 hours.
In 2010, Parry gained victory over crushing fatigue by running and walking 100 miles in slightly less than 24 hours. As he finished his Endurance Challenge, he was too weary to hear the cheers of his students, who lined both sides of Sixth Avenue Southwest on Friday morning, April 30.
"I was shot," he said at the time. "Oh my gosh. I was so tired."
Many adults and dozens of students jogged with Parry along a four-mile Stewartville loop that year.
"The only thing that got me through was the fact that everybody showed up," Parry said. "I can't remember all the people who were there...They pulled me through."
Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge is designed to motivate and inspire others to exercise, Parry said in 2010.
"For me it has always been running, but that doesn't mean it has to be running for everybody else," he said.
Seven marathons:
In 2011, Parry raised his arms in triumph as he crossed the finish line at the Med-City Marathon, silently celebrating a mission accomplished.
Parry finished the Rochester race on Sunday, May 29 to achieve his goal of running seven 26.2-mile marathons in seven consecutive days.
Completing seven marathons took a combination of good fortune and good attitude, he said. For the most part, he enjoyed good running weather, with temperatures in the 60s.
"Luck probably had a lot to do with it," Parry said. "And going into an event like that with the right attitude also goes a long way."
Sometimes, it's best to stop:
Last year, unrelenting cold, rain and wind put a damper on Parry's third attempt to run and walk as far as he could for 24 consecutive hours.
Parry put a stop to Mr. Parry's Endurance Challenge after covering 46 miles in about 13 hours on Thursday, April 19.
Beginning at about 10 a.m. that day, he ran and walked for more than six hours in an unremitting rain with temperatures in the 30s and 40s.
"I had never experienced hypothermia before, and so I didn't know what it would feel like to go from simply being cold to dealing with hypothermia," he said. "I didn't want to do anything dumb."
Parry learned that sometimes, it's best to simply stop the pursuit and try again another day.
"The lesson for the kids is that clearly, we can't control everything that happens," he said.

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