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Carry the Load: A 22 Mile Walk for Memorial Day

Last year Ronald Russell walked 22 miles with 44 lbs. on his back. This Memorial Day, he wants you to join him.

WESTFIELD, Ind.--Last year on Memorial Day, Ronald Russell carried a 44 lb. backpack on a 22 mile walk. He did it not only to honor veterans, police officers and firefighters, but to experience a bit of the pain those people have gone through. He's doing it again this year, and he's inviting you along.

"After the walk last year, yeah my feet were black and blue and sore. I looked at that all year," said Russell, at Quaker Park in Westfield, where the walk is based. "I never was in the military. I just want to do something to honor the sacrifices of those."

While last year's "Carry the Load" walk was from Westfield to downtown Indianapolis, the Russells are planning a more family-friendly route. It begins at Quaker Park and the route is a 3.7 mile loop.

"I'm going to do the loop six times, which is a little over 22 miles," he said. Pepsi is providing food and beverages.

You can do as many or a few loops as you wish. Russell plans to start at 5 a.m.

He says he got the idea by reading about the "Carry the Load" walk in Texas. "They came up with the idea. I liked what they were doing," said Russell, about the two Navy Seals who started the walk.

"I got tired of Memorial Day being just about mattress sales and car sales. Nothing wrong with all that. I just wanted to get my family back to what Memorial Day was all about."

Russell originally planned to pack his backpack with 22 lbs., but he said that wasn't enough. So, he doubled it for last year's trek, and he plans to do the same this year.

If you want to get involved, you can register by sending an email to

PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis

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