Marathon walk nets over $2,000 for family shelter

June 25, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

"Somebody stop me," shouted the Rev. Bob Wagner, as he crossed the finish line and broke through a crepe paper tape.

After walking for 24 hours and logging nearly 75 miles around the Westminster High School track from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 9 a.m. yesterday, the 32-year-old minister jogged in place as he poured a bottle of water over his head.

Amid hugs and cheers from his co-workers at Human Services Programs of Carroll County, he said he had raised several thousand dollars for the agency's Family Shelter for the homeless.

"Hey, Bob, where are you going now?" asked a friend from the sidelines, parodying a commercial.

"I am going to work," said the minister. "I am feeling fresh as a daisy. I can shower and get there by 10. Or maybe I could just run through the nearest car wash."

That humor typifies the pastor of Emmanuel Baust Lutheran Church in Tyrone, who is also a social worker. It helped him overcome blisters, fatigue and mild asthmatic wheezing in his marathon walk.

"This walk is a symbol of what it's like to be on the road day and night with no place to go," he said.

Step by step, for 24 hours, he circled the quarter-mile track. Every fourth circuit meant another mile toward his 75-mile goal.

"Two more laps," he said minutes before 9 a.m. "I am running the last lap."

True to his word, he switched from his steady pace to an energetic jog for the last quarter-mile.

Each step of the way, he collected on pledges to save the Family Shelter, which is endangered by the loss of state funding. So far, the tally has reached $2,000 with many donations still uncounted.

"My dad is walking to save the shelters for the homeless people," said 8-year-old Katie, who had spent the night in a tent near the track where her father walked.

Katie and her 5-year-old brother, Bryant, often tagged along, holding their father's hands.

Although Wednesday night "is a kind of a blur," Mr. Wagner said he remembers only a few laps where he walked alone. Other walkers racked up an additional 130 miles.

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