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Arizona National Guardsman to run 334 miles across the state to inspire kids affected by pandemic

“Being able to come back and finish here with something like this, it just symbolizes that hope."

PHOENIX — A Valley military man and athlete has a bold vision: Running the length of our state to show the youth of Arizona that any goal can be achievable.

Jimmy Scroggins says he has a very clear mission. 

"My mission is to run across the state of Arizona, 334 miles, starting at Quartzsite and ending here at El Reposo Park," he said. 

Scroggins is a motivational speaker and member of the Arizona National Guard. He recently noticed the kids he mentors are having a hard time staying positive during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I just wanted to do something to motivate and inspire young people to just keep going after their goals and their dreams and to just really understand that they can accomplish hard things,” said Scroggins.

His run will start at Quartzite and travel all the way through Phoenix to the towns of Maricopa and Coolidge. 

Some might say its a crazy run to match a crazy time in our history.

“I guess (it) manifested from all of the craziness that 2020 has already brought us you know, I had to come up with something that would be just as crazy as this year has been," Scroggins said. 

"Running across the state and 100-plus degree weather just seems kind of fit."

The finish line at Reposo Park in south Phoenix, where Scroggins grew up and endured a lot of hardships, has a significant meaning. 

Not only because his grandmother lives right down the street, but because of much more.

“Being able to come back and finish here with something like this, it just symbolizes that hope. And that belief in that inspiration that that young version of me would have wanted to see from someone in this park," said Scroggins.

Scroggins says he plans to cross that finish line no matter what.

“I'll continue to put my foot in front of right foot, whether I have to crawl across the finish line or whatever we need to do. Maybe I have to get some kids to carry me, I don't know, but we're gonna figure it out,” Scroggins said.

With his wife driving beside him and local police making a path for him, Scroggins said he hopes this run will help kids see that anything is possible.

“There's so many different versions of success, but I just want a young kid to look and say, what's my version of success? Right? How can I accomplish my race, right and really just use this run as a metaphor to push through their own obstacles,” said Scroggins.

Scroggins' mission started Monday. He plans to run 30 miles a day to complete the journey in 13 days -- on his birthday.

You can follow his 334-mile journey on his Instagram. You can also donate a $1 per mile, which will go to his nonprofit organization “4 Life Foundation," which supports encouraging children all across Arizona.

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