MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis family heads to the Florida Keys this weekend...the hard way.
It's the ultimate test of running endurance: a 100 mile Ultra Marathon.
The Clothier family will be riding in a van to support 45-year-old Christopher Clothier. Clothier is a Memphis businessman, writer, and now Ultra marathoner embarking on a gut check for the ages.
"The neat thing about it, it'll start at mile marker 100 in Key Largo at 6 a.m. on May 20 and we will go straight to the beach in Key West: 100 miles later," Clothier said.
It's the Keys 100 challenge. It's a challenge Clothier said he discovered a year ago.
"I'm 45. What's been interesting: I've had a lot of people thinking 'Are you having a mid-life crisis?'" Clothier said.
He said he's in the best shape of his life mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Training at Shelby Farms, the former U of M soccer player has completed half marathons, but never a full 26.2 marathon. Now, planning to run nearly four times that distance, Clothier hired coaches to guide his training.
"It's a lot of running, a lot of biking, swimming and a lot of weightlifting," Clothier said.
He's married and is the father of five children. He said the Keys 100 will be a family affair.
"My three oldest will be in the van, my wife will be there, my mother and my dad, my step-dad will be there," Clothier said.
He works with his family owned company, MemphisInvest.com. They purchase homes, renovate and sell to investors while managing the rentals. He's also writing two books.
"I've been writing all my life," he said. "I love writing as much as I love running, but a book is a different animal. Like a 100 mile run, is a different animal."
Clothier hired a writing coach to help him crystallize his ideas for one book on leadership and another called "10 reasons to run," which is a chronicle of his training for the Keys 100.
He has divided the Keys 100 into 10 parts.
"I knew there was an aid station every 10 miles. I will run for a different reason--something to motivate me," he said.
He is making donations to 10 causes that are close to his heart. A few of the charities he is donating to include one that focuses on distributing clean water, one described as a Jamaican wheelchair charity, and another started at Ole Miss that gives shoes to poor children.
"I don't want to take for granted that I get to run 100 miles and I get to have 3 pairs of shoes down there while I run," he said.