This year's Run for the Heroes does not begin until Wednesday, but its fundraising goal of $100,000 has already been passed.
"We've got $128,00O," local businessman John Teeples said Monday. "I guess next year we will have to raise the bar."
Teeples is the driving force behind the annual run, now in its fifth year, that seeks donations for the House of Heroes.
Teeples made the run from Columbus to Savannah, Ga., by himself the first year. This year, 10 other individuals will run with him. Beginning Wednesday they will cover the 260-mile distance in five days. More than 20 relay teams are expected to begin this weekend and take two days to finish.
In the past, the Run Across Georgia has begun here at the National Infantry Museum and finished in Savannah. This year is different. The run will begin at Fort Stewart near Hinesville, Ga., and finish Sunday in front of The Loft on Broadway downtown. The route will still take the runners past the National Infantry Museum.
Teeples, who owns John Teeples Construction in Fortson, Ga., owns two downtown businesses, Big Dog Running Company and Iron Bank Coffee Company. That, however, is not the reason for the change. He is seeking a more exciting finish.
"People in Savannah didn't really know any of the runners, so we would go in almost unnoticed," Teeples said.
He is glad to see Fort Stewart get involved since the event is always held around Memorial Day.
"Fort Stewart really rolled out the red carpet for us," Teeples said.
The distance of the run is the same as in the past. The route will be the same except for the first 32 miles and the final nine.
He said individual runners will average between 70-90 miles per day. Runners should be arriving home between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Some might come in earlier.
The run will begin Wednesday at 4 a.m. at the Warriors Walk on Fort Stewart.
Teeples has been training hard since January. "The big thing is going to be the heat," he said, as the forecast calls for temperatures in the high 80s. "It has been kind of cool here lately, which does not make for good preparation."
Asked why the fundraising has gone so well, he said much of it has to do with having a lot of military involved with their family and friends making pledges from around the country.
The House of Heroes provides assistance to military and public safety veterans, as well as their spouses, by making repairs, improvements and maintenance to their homes at no charge.
"All we do is for the House of Heroes and the great work done for our veterans who need our help," Teeples said. "This is a way to help and have a good time accomplishing it."