CHANDLER, Ariz. - Before Chandler MMA opens its doors and well after they close, a local man will be running on a treadmill - and he won't stop.
Henry Ward is going to keep that pace for four days to raise money to help people in recovery from addiction. His legs will keep moving for 66.6 hours - it's an initiative he's calling "Running Without the Devil."
"I feel good," said Ward.
But feeling good took years of pain and work. The ultramarathon runner abused alcohol for years, finally hitting rock bottom when his wife gave him an ultimatum: his family or alcohol.
"I was just praying to God like a baby," said Ward. "Send somebody to save me, send me an angel, send me anybody. I was scared. I really felt like I was going to die, or because I kept collapsing, and I was like...'This is no way to live.' "
His steps on the treadmill signify the journey to sobriety he took. Ward turned to running marathon after marathon while getting sober, and now he wants others struggling to take his same path.
"By encouraging people to seek treatment, it’s saving lives," Ward said. "It can work for me, it can work for them too."
Inside Chandler MMA, he already ran 75 miles on Saturday, and will hit well over 200 over the course of four days. He stops only to sleep and eat.
Funds donated to his charity, Running Without the Devil, will create scholarships to help people pay for rehab.
"People are scared to go to treatment because insurance won’t cover that much," Ward said.
Now, maybe they can - thanks to each stride made every second, minute, hour and day. He knows firsthand, after all, that ever journey to sobriety starts with a step.
Learn more about Running Without the Devil: https://runningwithoutthedevil.com/