Sports Ultrarunner proposes after 3,000-mile, 78-day East Coast Greenway trek...

Ultrarunner proposes after 3,000-mile, 78-day East Coast Greenway trek from Florida to Maine

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Shawn Riggs and Joshua (Josh) Grant A 3,000-mile journey along the East Coast Greenway It became an incomparable love story.

The ultrarunner and cyclist left Key West, Florida on April 16 and arrived in Calais, Maine 78 days later. The trip ended with Riggs getting down on one knee and asking his partner to marry him and getting a resounding “yes” from Grant.

“Totally shocked. I was shocked,” Grant told USA TODAY Sports as she biked the entire Greenway route with Riggs, transporting their supplies with a trailer.

“He (Riggs) had only run 3,000 miles and getting back up on his knees was not an easy thing to do after all those miles,” Grant said.

Side by side, Riggs and Grant traveled 40-50 miles a day.

“We did well as a team,” Riggs said. “And we’re pretty solid. So the whole trip just confirmed what I thought we knew the most.”

Although the proposal came as a surprise to Grant, Riggs shared that it was on his mind as he ran, and he knew he was going to ask Grant to be his wife once he got to the Northeast: “It’s been floating around in my mind for a long time. Sometime and then somewhere in the Northeast, I don’t know, New York or New Hampshire. .”

Riggs, 43, has completed 46 ultramarathon races and several multi-day expeditions around the world to raise money and awareness for a variety of charities.

In 2020, Riggs ran more than 3,200 miles from San Francisco to the Connecticut coast, completing the west-to-east run of the United States. But this trip on the Greenway was a new feat.

43-year-old Shaun Riggs has completed 46 ultramarathon races — many wins — and completed several multi-day expeditions around the world, raising money and awareness for a variety of charities.

Riggs is the only person to run the nonprofit East Coast Greenway, a multi-use trail that stretches from Florida to Maine.

“We’re building the East Coast Greenway for adventures big and small — from half-mile, family-friendly walks to 3,000-mile bike rides and runs like Shawn and Josh’s people-driven journey,” said East Coast Greenway Alliance Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano. USA Today said. “Their inspiring story has brought awareness to many wonderful segments of our Maine-to-Florida route and areas of need along with our evolving project.”

couple trip Raises funds to support non-profits and raise awareness For the Greenway.

‘I don’t really know how I did it, but it worked’

The journey from the southern-most region of the United States to the Canadian border came with some obstacles.

“The biggest physical challenge is the heat,” Riggs said. “It was in the 90s and humid for most of the tour.

“We set our alarm for 4 (a.m.) or 4:30 (a.m.) and you do that day-in and day-out over and over again.”

For Grant, the hardest part of the trip was hauling all the couple’s gear in the trailer.

Stopping at restaurants, park benches and cemeteries along the Greenway, Grant continued to work in any quiet spot they could find during the 78-day trek. She logs into work via her laptop, takes calls and attends meetings while cycling along the coast.

“I don’t really know how I did it, but it worked,” Grant said.

Cyclist Joshua (Josh) Grant transported their gear on a bike trailer and, supporting Shawn Riggs' run, completed his own Thru-Ride along the Grant Greenway route.

Push your limits, see what you’re made of

Beyond the opportunity the East Coast Greenway gave Riggs, a Connecticut-based runner, to see the country on foot, Riggs said he enjoyed the challenge of seeing what he did.

“It’s great to be able to see the country at foot speed and really bring all these different cities and communities together,” Riggs said. “Overall, I like to do these things for a couple of reasons. One is to see what you’re physically made of. And you know, (to see) where the limit is when things start to fall apart? And can you cross that? ?”

Why Grant is easy going: “I like doing things that aren’t easy or doing things that make people question why you’re doing them,” Grant says.

“I’m still excited about going home and looking forward to reliving all the past moments because everything happened so quickly… It’s been such a long journey and it’s happened so quickly. .

“I’m looking forward to a future with this guy right here, too,” Grant sat adoringly next to Riggs.

Now that their unforgettable journey along the coast is complete, their next trip is “I do.”

Shawn Riggs (right) and Joshua (Josh) Grant (left) raise funds to raise awareness for the non-profit East Coast Greenway Alliance and the East Coast Greenway.

Contact Annalise Bailey at aabailey@usatoday.com or on Twitter @AnnalisBailey.



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