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story.lead_photo.caption Trevor Neal sails down the Fulton High School track Wednesday, preparing for a 24-hour, 100-mile run starting at 7 p.m. Saturday. He's raising money for suicide prevention and awareness organizations. Photo by Jenny Gray / Fulton Sun.

On Saturday evening, Trevor Neal will start a journey of 100 miles, one step at a time.

He will be joined by helpers and other running friends, but primarily it will be Neal running the distance through the darkness until he accomplishes his goal.

"I know. It sounds crazy," Neal said. "I run in the dark more frequently than I should."

His effort is: 1 goal, 24 hours, 100 miles. It's not just for fun. This Fulton native and Westminster graduate is raising money for suicide prevention and awareness.

"I've raised $913 so far," he said Wednesday morning. "I was shooting for $1,000 by the day I run, but I will collect donations for another week."

Neal is the son of Keven and Kathy Neal.

"I was born and raised here, and lived here my whole life," he said.

He graduated in 2014 from Fulton High School, home of the track where he'll start running at 7 p.m. Saturday. He graduated from Westminster College in 2018 with dual bachelor degrees, one each in physics and chemistry. Now he's going for his third BA at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla on the way to becoming an aerospace engineer.

"I'm interested in missile systems," Neal added. "I'm excited to go to work."

He admits the thought of flying in to space is a bit terrifying, but: "I'd like to build the things that get them there."

Neal, a personal trainer in his spare time, said he ran track one year in high school and he played soccer at Westminster for two years. He really loves running long-distance obstacle courses, or Spartan Races. He's run three.

"I'd like to do more but I'm still a poor college student," he said, laughing.

Neal also studies ways to be stronger, including meditation and breathing techniques. Those will come in handy when he starts running Saturday night.

Why does he care so much about suicide and the causes that drive people to contemplate it?

"In my sophomore year, a good friend committed suicide," Neal said. "That's always been the cause I've supported through the years."

He said he learned it's easier to help other people in cases like that.

"Helping other people makes you feel better," he said.

That's also where running helps out, too.

"It helps me unwind and relax, and get my emotions straight. I go run," Neal added.

To help him with a donation, people can go to his Facebook page and look for the link to his "1 Goal. 24 Hours. 100 Miles" campaign. They also can stop by the track and he'll have a donation box set up.

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