Monday, July 15, 2024

Williamsburg Man Set to Walk Virginia Capital Trail, Raising Funds for Charity

Bob Mahr, a Williamsburg resident, will be walking the Virginia Capital Trail on June 22 to raise money for Williamsburg House of Mercy. (Photo courtesy of Bob Mahr)

WILLIAMSBURG — Bob Mahr is gearing up for a 50-mile walk on Saturday from Richmond to Williamsburg, all to benefit the Williamsburg House of Mercy.

The 62-year-old’s decision to walk the 50 miles was inspired by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Theodore Roosevelt, and their desire to challenge the military to keep up with physical fitness standards.

The 50-mile walk has since become an annual event in Washington D.C., and it was always something Mahr wanted to do when he was living close to the city. But as life got busier, he never had the chance to participate.

After moving to Williamsburg, Mahr found that he lived close to the Virginia Capital Trail, which is just over 50 miles, so he started making plans to do his own version of the JFK Walk.

“My middle daughter suggested making the walk a spiritual thing, where I could pray for someone every mile to help pass the time. After that conversation, I thought that I should make this a fundraiser,” Mahr said.

Mahr and his family are active at the Williamsburg House of Mercy, so he selected the charity as his beneficiary. After advertising his walking plan on his personal Facebook page, he received a $1,000 donation from a friend.

Mahr said he is not a distance walker by any means, so he has been making daily walks up to five miles to prepare for his journey. He’s also been speaking with hikers who have completed the Appalachian Trail and fitness experts.

“I’ve got plans to dress appropriately in all lightweight gear. I’ll be bringing a change of clothes, I’ve got a sunhat. I’ll have sunscreen. The key is hydration and I have from my hiking days a hydration backpack and I have a fanny pack belt that has two water-bottles that will go with it,” Mahr said of his preparations.

In addition to all his hiking gear, a necessity for Mahr was a new pair of sneakers. He will also carry ibuprofen, a good playlist of podcasts and music, spare phone chargers, a map of the Virginia Capital Trail with all the places he can stop along the way, and plenty of athletic tape and extra socks.

Mahr plans to begin his walk at 4 a.m. on Saturday. With temperatures expected in the high 90s, Mahr is hoping to stick to his plan of completing the walk in 17 hours, putting him back in the Williamsburg area around 9 p.m. for a celebratory beer (or two) at Billsburg Brewery.

“I’m more excited than nervous. As I’ve thought through the heat and the ‘should I really be doing this’ aspects, 98% of the time it’s yes, 2% of the time I feel crazy for doing this. It’s exciting and I really do feel like I am accomplishing something. There’s still this small piece of me that says ‘I’ve still got it’ and I love a challenge,” Mahr said.

To keep the public updated, Mahr is planning on posting Facebook Live video updates every few miles to his personal page. He also shared that anyone who wants to join him for a few miles is welcome.

If all goes well on the Virginia Capital Trail walk, Mahr hopes that his next walking and hiking adventure takes him to Pike’s Peak in Colorado where he can summit the Rocky Mountains with one of his daughters.

To donate towards Mahr’s efforts, donors can visit the Williamsburg House of Mercy online giving page. Donors should note that their donation is in honor of the 50-mile walk.

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