On May 19, 2013, Scot Fortescue began a 360 mile charity run that would span from the Blue Ridge Mountains at the Tennessee state line, to end at the flatlands of the eastern coast at Emerald Isle, N.C. three months later.
The Fishladder Run evolved from an idea that popped into Scot’s head to give back to the community that had blessed his fish business for 22 years in Winston-Salem, N.C. After being unsure of whether this was something he should try or not, he asked God to let him know if the idea come from Him. For weeks God sent little answers, such as giving him his favorite verse in the Bible from a fishbowl at the YMCA. It was Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” I continued to encourage him to listen to what God was telling him. Scot decided to follow God’s direction to commit to the run and make the Scholarship Fund at Sunnyside Ministry in Winston-Salem the recipient of all donations. The scholarship would be in memory of his father, William Fortescue.
In short, the run started May 19 at the Tennessee state line on NC Highway 321, and ended August 17 at Emerald Isle, running in stages over the course of 21 runs. Scot’s first two runs were marathons through the Blue Ridge Mountains on consecutive Sundays. He ran a total of approximately 78 hours, averaging over 17 miles per run over the course of the 21 runs. He completed two other marathon distance runs during the three months of his run. Not bad for a 47 year old man.
Many people helped Scot along the way. My boys, Kristian and Davin, and I spent many Sundays driving to meet Scot every 4-6 miles to provide water, Gatorade, food, headphones, fresh shirts, etc. Other family members helped him along his way, as did community members, and one nice young gentleman he met after one run was kind enough to give him a ride back to his car. Along the way he met up with many adventures and challenges, including traffic, hot weather, and one attacking pit bull. The most challenging was a broken bone in his left foot, which occurred within 70 miles of his end destination. But, hardheaded, Scot ran through pain to complete the run over the next 3 weeks. “I was too close to stop, and a doctor told me ‘off the record’ that I couldn’t damage it any further’”.
On August 17, 2013, Scot completed the last 22 miles of his run to Emerald Isle beach, running across the sand to the ocean with his and my children in tow for the last leg of the run. The next day, he and I were married, along with our “Brady Bunch”—Lee, Sarah, Kristian and Davin, in Salter Path, NC.
Sunnyside Ministry provides four-year scholarships of $800 per semester to high school seniors living or going to school in their service area of Winston-Salem. The scholarship also includes a laptop computer. Scot has raised enough to fund one scholarship as well as the cost of the computer, but has not reached his goal of $20,000. Sunnyside is still accepting donations in support of Scot’s effort. Donations can be made through the websites www.fishladderrun.com or www.sunnysideministry.org or by mailing a check to: Sunnyside Ministry of the Moravian Church, 319 Haled Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27127.
Thanks to Cindy Fortescue for this article and photos and Sunnyside Ministry for sharing it with us. Photos above: Scot Fortescue during his cross-Carolina run for Sunnyside.
From the November 2013 Moravian Magazine