ITHACA, NY – On Wednesday morning, Shane “Zenman” Eversfield, embarked on a quintuple Ironman triathalon — 703 miles of swimming, biking and running that will take him until Sunday night to complete.

Eversfield, 58, is a swim and cycling coach. He is attempting this epic test of endurance in order to raise money for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gherig’s Disease.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes muscles to atrophy. Those afflicted gradually lose the ability to control all voluntary movements, including losing the ability to speak, eat and eventually breathe.

“Recently, my awareness of the disease grew more acute as my step-brother grappled with and finally died last year of ALS,” Eversfield said in his announcement of the event. “This disease steals away the blessings of mobility and agility that are so much a part of the growth and joy we share as athletes, and often take for granted.”

Eversfield hopes to raise $10,000 to benefit the ALS Association. At the time of this writing, he has raised $7,073. You can donate to his campaign here.

“The squirrel’s cage”

Adding an extra wrinkle to the challenge is that Eversfield will be doing it all within the confines of a relatively tight space. 703 miles is about the distance from Ithaca to Chicago.

The 12-mile swim, which Eversfield completed yesterday, was done in the 25-yard pool at Island fitness — 422.5 laps back and forth.

He then biked over to Cass Park where he will complete 560 miles of cycling on a 5k course (180 laps) followed by 131 miles of running on a roughly 1 mile loop (121 laps). In promoting the challenge, Eversfield referred to it as “the squirrel’s cage.”

“When I imagine the isolation, immobility and sense of entrapment that someone with A.L.S. experiences, then 703 miles ‘in the squirrel cage’ feels like a breath of fresh air,” Eversfield said.

As of approximately 2 p.m. on Thursday, Eversfield is on lap 60 of the bike portion.

You can follow along with his progress on the event’s Facebook page.

(All photos courtesy the Moving Beyond ALS Kaizen-durance Quintuple Facebook page)


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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.