Seaman resident Casie Reed has proven that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with dedication and discipline. Along the way, Reed used her goal to run 1,000 miles in 2020 to support those struggling to afford mental health care.
On Oct. 10, Reed took on the Goggins challenge, which was developed by former Navy Seal David Goggins and pushes participants to run four miles every four hours over a 48-hour period.
“It actually was created to test your mental toughness,” Reed said, “so I thought it would be perfect to raise awareness for depression and anxiety.”
Reed told The Times-Gazette that her own depression and anxiety are part of the reason she runs.
“I’ve been a runner for over 15 years,” Reed said. “I always ran in school, but after school, I continued because that’s when I figured out that I needed to do something to help me fight these feelings, and running was something that helped. Those endorphins that your body releases when you’re running make you so happy.”
Reed decided to use the challenge as an opportunity to raise money for Hope House Christian Counseling Center’s Pay-It-Forward fund, which provides assistance for clients struggling to afford the mental health care they need.
“I was going to run 48 miles anyway, and I thought, ‘Well, I don’t want to do it for nothing,’” Reed said. “I think it’s wonderful that we have a counseling center in our area so people don’t have to drive to the city. It’s also Christian-based, so I know that the women actually care about their clients. And they service a lot of younger kids, which is important. They’re so young and little, and they don’t know how to deal with those emotions, so when they go talk to a counselor, they can work through those feelings without feeling alone because, a lot of times, that’s how you feel.”
Reed ran her first marathon in May. She was already running 25 to 35 miles each week. As she began preparing for the challenge, Reed started running at 4 a.m. and in the evening to prepare her body.
“I’d compare [the challenge] to having a newborn baby,” Reed said. “I didn’t sleep at all for 48 hours. The running was OK. Probably at 24 miles, that’s when the running started getting a little tough. I would eat, drink, roll, and stretch before and after every run.”
Reed’s goal was to run each four-mile leg of the challenge in 40 minutes or less, which left her with a little over three hours to eat, re-hydrate, shower and sleep before she had to run the next four miles.
“It was hard to eat in between each leg, just because I didn’t want to eat anything really heavy, but I needed the fuel. Running on no sleep was hard. After each run, I was just so happy and excited that I couldn’t sleep anyway.”
Reed completed a majority of the challenge without company, but cross country students from North Adams High School, where Reed coaches cross country, as well as another cross country coach, ran with her for a few legs of the challenge.
After 44 miles, Reed ran three miles in Seaman before driving to Sinking Spring to run her 48th mile and complete the challenge at Hope House.
“When she got out of that truck, I thought, ‘There’s no way this poor girl is going to be able to run a foot let alone a mile,’” Hope House Director Julie Seaman said. “We said, ‘It’s OK, you don’t have to,’ but she said, ‘No, no, I’m going to do this.’ And she did.”
“I’m really stubborn,” Reed said. “You can’t run 47 and not do one more.”
Even with stubbornness pushing her on, Reed admitted that the last mile was the most difficult.
“It was terrible,” Reed said. “Once I started, it was fine — my legs loosened up again — but thinking about doing it was the hard part.”
Reed ultimately finished, and though she is still recovering, Reed gained more from the challenge than just blisters.
“It really gave me a good confidence boost,” Reed said. “Now I feel like I can do anything.”
Reed’s original goal was to raise $1,000 for Hope House, but as of Wednesday she had raised nearly $7,000.
“It’s a God thing for sure,” Reed said. “It’s just unbelievable that running did that and God did this. In the Bible, Jesus feeds 5,000 [people] with two fish and five loaves of bread. He always does so much with so little and with just average people. He did this, and it will help so many people.”
Seaman told The Times-Gazette that Reed’s efforts will have lasting effects outside raising funds for a good cause.
“There isn’t anyone who sees her who doesn’t gravitate towards her because she’s just that type of person,” Seaman said. “I think when she publicly stated, ‘I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety myself,’ I think it just resonated with people and opened up a good avenue for discussion for them. I don’t think she’ll know the ripple effect of what she did — I don’t think she’ll ever know.”
To donate to Hope House Christian Counseling Center, or to learn more about its services, visit hopehouseccc.com.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.