Student aims to run across the country for charity

Katie Mest Staff Writer K.A.Mest@iup.edu

For most relatively new runners, the thought of running ultramarathons and running across the country seems intimidating. But not for freshman Taylor Strong (nutrition and dietetics).

Strong will set out on a cross-country run from San Francisco to New York City, a journey of more than 4,000 miles, through the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults’ 4K for Cancer program.

She began running her sophomore year of high school.

“I’ve run a 50-mile ultramarathon and a 100-mile ultramarathon,” Strong said, “so I figured I would take my talent of long-distance running and do something good with it.”

She, along with her team of 26 others from around the world, will leave from California June 18 and complete their trip in New York August 5.

Each runner is required to raise at least $4,500 for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.

UCF was created when Doug Ulman was diagnosed with cancer during college in 1996.

He and his family had trouble finding resources for someone of his age.

They created the foundation to build a support system for young adults, ages 15 to 39, with cancer and their families.

Taylor Strong (freshman, nutrition and dietetics)

Strong has raised $4,746.32 of her $6,000 goal.

She found out about the run through an ad on Facebook and decided to apply.

After sending in a general application and writing an essay, she had a phone interview with coordinators from the foundation.

Each team member also holds a bone marrow drive in their community to get more people on the bone marrow registry.

There are two running teams. The other team will finish in Baltimore, which is home to the foundation.

Three biking teams also take part in the event.

Each one starts in Baltimore, but they end in Seattle, Portland or San Francisco.

It’s a relay-style run.

The team will split in half, each person running in two-mile increments.

Each person runs 10 to 16 miles per day.

Rest days are spent visiting hospitals, where participants show their support to patients and their families.

“It’s a cool adventure,” Strong said. “It’s a cool way to meet new people.”

Since its start, 4K for Cancer covered 100,000 miles and raised more than $5 million.

More than 80 percent of the money donated goes toward programs to help patients and families who are struggling with cancer and the difficulties that come with it.

Donations to Strong can be done through her fundraising page http://ulman.z2systems.com/taylor-strong.

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