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Connecticut runner on mission to run 3,000 miles across East Coast Greenway

Ultra-marathon runner Shan Riggs's goal is to raise $300,000 for the East Coast Greenway Alliance.

HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut ultra-marathon runner is traveling thousands of miles on an expedition across the East Coast for a good cause, making a stop on his journey in Hartford on Thursday.

Ultra-marathon runner Shan Riggs is on a mission to be the first known runner to make it across the entire East Coast Greenway, the country’s longest walking and biking route.

The greenway stretches from Florida to Maine, connecting 15 states and winding through 450 communities, including Hartford.

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"We’ve made it back to our home state of Connecticut, so here we are," said Riggs. ”We’re thrilled to be back home!"

The journey began in April in Key West, Florida. 

Riggs and his partner Joshuaine (Josh) Grant travel 40 miles a day on a bicycle making their way along the greenway to the Canadian border.  

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"It’s been an adventure. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy doing something like this," said Grant. "But we’ve had a lot of success in drumming up support and bringing attention to what we think is a very important cause."

The goal is to raise $300,000 for the East Coast Greenway Alliance, which is doing advocacy work to get cities and towns to build out the trail and complete it.

About 1,000 miles are complete, but they’re pushing to make the remaining 2,000 miles safer for people to walk and ride on, according to the alliance. 

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“As the first person that’s running the whole thing, one of the things I want to do is just point out that there’s still a lot of work to be done," said Riggs. "So we have these really nice spaces but there’s also a lot of stuff that’s a little sketchy to walk or run on."

This isn't his first cross-country trek, as in 2020 Riggs ran more than 3,000 miles from California to the Connecticut coast to raise money for the regional food bank, Foodshare. 

“We’ve known him for years. We’d go on weekly group runs with him,” said Debbie Solinsky from Glastonbury. "We’ve all been following it and we wanted to welcome him back home to Hartford and just cheer him on as he’s continuing this journey.”

Elisha Machado is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at emachado@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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