Blaine Moore’s mind-boggling month started with a single mile.

He ran that mile on March 1 in a little more than eight minutes. He followed it with two miles on March 2, three on March 3 and four on March 4.

Now that we’re in the final week of March, Moore’s mileage is staggering. He ran 27 miles Tuesday, tacked on 28 in two sessions Wednesday, and will go for 29 today and 30 Friday before wrapping up his hopefully-not-blistering effort with 31 miles Saturday on roads and trails around Camp Sunshine in Casco.

Moore, 32, lives in Windham. Two years ago, he attempted a similar “1 More Mile for Sunshine” fundraising effort, but stopped on the 25th day after injuring his knee.

This time, with his first child due in June, Moore is confident that he will complete the challenge. His body seems to be holding up, with the possible exception of a swollen left ankle and a right Achilles tendon that began bothering him late last week.

“I got it taped on Saturday morning,” he said, “and instead of being an active pain it went down to a dull ache while I’m running. … So hopefully that means it’s not going to bother me going forward.”

Moore’s goal is to raise $6,000 — enough to send three families to Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening diseases and their families.

The camp, staffed largely by volunteers, operates throughout the year and does not charge the families who visit. It recently received the highest possible rating — four stars — from an independent charity evaluator, Charity Navigator, based on financial oversight, accountability and transparency.

“We actually have a lot of families who come up from Florida and the Deep South for their children to experience winter in their lifetime,” said Michael Smith, Camp Sunshine’s director of special events. “We just finished one program and have another coming up in April.”

Moore is inviting friends and supporters to join him for Saturday’s culminating miles on a loop course and take a tour of Camp Sunshine. The exact math for the month yields a total of 496 miles, but with his GPS watch keeping careful track, Moore is running extra fractions this week to reach an even 500 miles.

He sometimes breaks up his miles into more than one session — Monday’s mileage was six in the morning and 20 in the afternoon, and Wednesday’s was 14 and 14.

During the stretch of unusually warm weather earlier this month, Moore actually spent five days in Memphis, as Maine’s volunteer representative at the Road Runners Club of America’s annual gathering.

In Tennessee, he got up early to get in his miles before it got too hot, and even jumped into a half-marathon, winning his age group and placing 17th overall with a 6:21 pace.

“It being a race and me being a relatively competitive person,” Moore said, “I ran maybe a little harder than I should have.”

Temperatures in Memphis hovered around 70 in the morning.

“When I came home,” Moore said, “it basically was just the same except I was running in the middle of the afternoon. It was warm, but I managed to do OK with it.”

Moore ran 10 marathons or ultra-marathons last year and added Boston (informally, on New Year’s Day) and Houston (2:55 on the day after the Olympic Trials) in January to bring his lifetime total to 23 marathons and nine ultras, in 16 states.

Although he grew up in Connecticut, Moore’s family roots stretch to Old Town. He coaches a Thursday night running group connected with the Maine Running Company and maintains a blog called 1MoreMileforSunshine.com, with daily updates showing his mileage, routes and video.

Moore left his previous job in December, and within two days friends were asking if he would make another attempt at a month of one-more-miles. March was the first month that ended on a Saturday, and “it’s always good to finish up when you have people to run with,” he said.

With better knowledge of his body and how it reacts, Moore said he’s better equipped to complete the challenge this year.

“I’m just a lot more comfortable with going out and running long distances and fueling myself,” he said, “so that I can recover appropriately.”

He recently began work for an Australian startup company involving Internet ads, so he can manage his miles around working from home.

If Saturday goes smoothly and Moore makes good on his 500-mile month, will Sunday truly be a day of rest?

His wife, Erin, has other plans.

“Oh, doing the taxes,” she said. “There are a lot of things we’ve been putting off.”

She has drawn up a calendar of tasks for her husband to accomplish in April, when he’s not spending so many of his waking hours running. One task is to register for baby gifts.

“We’re hoping,” she said, “there’s a good jogging stroller in that batch.”

 

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at [email protected]