Long haul to Inauguration Day
By Martin Weil and Maggie Fazeli Fard,
Amid the thousands who headed to and from dozens of destinations throughout the Washington area on Inauguration Day was one determined man on a mission, trying to complete a 700-mile trip to the Capitol on foot.
At age 56, Gary Allen had set off from Maine on Jan. 7, hoping to reach the Capitol on Inauguration Day. A little after nightfall, his brother said, the veteran marathoner made it.
Allen is director of a marathon, a running coach and a motivational speaker.
His aim was to raise money for charities. He had said he did not know whether he could reach his goal.
But his brother, Larry Allen, who was his spokesman, said Gary did it.
He had started on snowshoes in the snow.
At one point, he was averaging 40 to 50 miles a day. Leg problems in New Jersey slowed him to a walk in Newark, Elizabeth and Rahway.
But after spending Sunday night north of Baltimore, Gary Allen on Monday was headed down Route 1 toward the District.
As the day waned, he went through College Park, entered the District and followed Bladensburg Road, Maryland Avenue and East Capitol Street.
Between 7:05 p.m and 7:10 p.m., with possible security problems smoothed, his brother said, Gary Allen was at the Capitol. There, he touched the door as a sign of completion.
The idea was to raise money and awareness for three causes: the Wounded Warrior Project, the American Cancer Society and the victims of the school shootings in Connecticut.
Now, his brother said, it’s a matter of finding a way home.