It wasn’t enough for Winter Springs track and field coach Octavius “Ocky” Clark to make sure everyone knew that the Winter Springs track needed resurfacing and that the field needed to make the switch from natural grass to artificial turf. No, Clark had to take matters into his own hands, volunteering to walk a whopping 250 miles to raise money to pay for those improvements.
Clark was a legendary track and field star at Florida State and his grandfather once walked great distances to work for the Seaboard Coastline railroad. Put the two together, and it became obvious what Clark needed to do: He would walk the entire distance from Winter Springs’ track to Florida State, raising money for the sake of the journey.
Clark’s fundraising program, called Strides for Students, will aim at landing him at Florida State’s Doak Walker Stadium on Saturday during the FSU-Florida game, two days after Thanksgiving. Along the way, he’ll be remembering his grandfather’s sacrifice and all the good he’ll be doing by expecting raises of more than $100,000.
“He had to do his walk during the night, and he slept during the day,” Clark told BrightHouse cable news network News13. “There weren’t any hotels, and the few places that were around, well, of course, he wasn’t allowed to sleep in.
“Every now and again in life, you find something that’s bigger than yourself; that’s larger than yourself. And this cause, I feel, is much larger than me.”