Thursday, July 25, 2024

Williamsburg Man Completes Capital Trail Walk

Bob Mahr at the start of his 51.7-mile walk of the entire Capital Trail. (Courtesy of Bob Mahr)

WILLIAMSBURG— Bob Mahr set out from Richmond on one of the hottest days of 2024 to walk the 51.7 mile Virginia Capital Trail to benefit the Williamsburg House of Mercy.

In 17 hours and 47 minutes, Mahr was welcomed back home to Williamsburg after accomplishing his feat.

In a slight adjustment to his original plans to walk the entire trail on June 22, Mahr began walking from Richmond at 4:30 p.m. on June 21 and walked until 9:30 p.m., when he was picked up by his wife at mile marker 35. He went home and slept for five hours before getting back on the trail and walked from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on June 22.

“There were two points where I said ‘I’ve got this, this is great, I feel fine.’ I then said to myself, ‘are you talking yourself into this or are you really fine?’ I just cleared my head and asked God to talk to me and after I did, I felt good and calm and reasonable. I never got to a point where I said that I had to stop or that I had to push through this,” Katz said.

As he walked, Mahr had what he called his ‘Forrest Gump’ moments.

“At one point, I was walking and two kids on bikes, regular pedal bicycles, went flying by me. They were about 14 years old and the one kid turned around and looked at me and said ‘are you Bob?’ and I said yes, he goes ‘You rock!'” Mahr explained.

Setting out for Williamsburg. (Courtesy of Bob Mahr)

He also ran into a family at a local convenience store who had heard about his journey through the Virginia Capital Trail Facebook page and had come out specifically looking for him so they could say ‘hi’ and wish him well on his journey.

“It was so surreal and just made my day. There was a little bit of a celebrity feeling to it,” Mahr said.

Mahr also met an ambassador for the Virginia Capital Trail in Charles City who wanted to make sure he was okay and had support. As the two were talking, the ambassador gifted Mahr a gift card for Billsburg Brewery for his first post-walk beer.

As he got closer and closer to Williamsburg, Mahr was greeted by his wife, who agreed to walk the final three miles with him. Once he reached mile marker 0.00, Mahr was emotional.

“My wife met me at Spoke & Art and walked the last three miles with me. We had become grandparents three weeks ago and while my wife was waiting for me at Spoke & Art, so was my daughter, son-in-law, and my granddaughter. I got a chance to get inspired by my granddaughter, which was a nice touch,” Mahr said.

Waiting for him at the finish line was a sign from his wife congratulating him on achieving his goal.

Celebrating at Billsburg Brewery after walking all 51.7 miles of the Virginia Capital Trail. (Courtesy of Bob Mahr)

After returning home from the walk and the adrenaline having finally wore off, Mahr said he felt pain from his hips through to his feet. He drifted off to sleep in lots of pain but said he woke up on June 23 feeling better than he ever has.

Williamsburg House of Mercy was the beneficiary of Mahr’s walk. To date, Mahr’s walk has raised over $3,000 for the charity.

“We are in awe at the level of commitment our volunteers show to our organization. Bob Mahr’s walk for our cause has shown his unselfish approach to supporting the most vulnerable in our community. We are so grateful to him for organizing this walk and the support his friends and family have shown to Williamsburg House of Mercy,” Executive Director Liz Buckley said.

After seeing the success of his inaugural pilgrimage, Mahr has already started talking about the possibility of making the walk an annual event. However, he’d likely move the date to sometime in the fall for cooler weather.

“I am inclined to do it again, but it will not be on the hottest day of the year.”

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