Teen Runs 7 Marathons in 7 Days for Springs Protection

Charles Richardson runs past park sign at De Leon Springs State Park.

On December 17, 2019, Florida teen Charles Richardson, 19, set out to complete a “year-defining” journey by running 184 miles across Florida in one week, from Daytona Beach to Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin.

Along the way, he visited four Florida State Parks to experience Florida’s most beautiful freshwater springs and bring attention to springs protection.  

Richardson had challenged himself to do something that would define his year and had a realization that he would dedicate his journey to a cause.  

“I noticed on one of my runs that I noticed 45 pieces of trash on a five-mile run and I thought, ‘That’s perfect,’” Richardson told CBS 10 News. “I’ll run across Florida and make it about environmental conservation.”  

Richardson named his journey the “7 in 7 Challenge.” That’s because he ran about one marathon a day for seven days straight. Preparation for the run was arduous, but Richardson says he enjoys running because it gives him time to think. He runs, cycles and weight lifts in his home of Wellington, Florida.  

Along the way, Richardson visited four Florida State Parks — De Leon Springs State Park, Silver Springs State Park, Rainbow Springs State Park and Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Richardson arrived victorious at Honeymoon Island State Park on Monday, December 23, 2019. 

To Richardson, the run was more than just an athletic feat — it was an opportunity to live his values and send a message that Florida’s springs and environment are worth conserving.  

“The two statements that I have begun to live by and believe everyone should adopt are, ‘To treat the world's health with as much respect as your own personal health’ and ‘To protect the home of future generations,’” he said. “So with everything I do, I ask myself ‘How would this affect my own health?’, and ‘Does this decision affect more than just me?’”

Experience springs in Florida State Parks

This article was published in the Real Florida ℠ Connection, the Florida State Parks e-newsletter. Sign-up to get updates and stories from your state parks the first week of every month.