Wow….where to even begin. I have had trouble wrapping my mind around how to write about the past amazing weekend with the Rev3 Run Across America – I can’t even imagine how the others who were there for all 3 weeks will do it! My story begins on Friday afternoon. I had originally planned to drive my car down to meet up with the group. After a series of events though, it became clear that if I brought my car down we’d have too many cars and not enough drivers. So I rented a car instead and headed down to Bluefield, WV. Knowing that I would be arriving sometime close to midnight, I had called ahead to the hotel asking about a shuttle from the rental car return to the hotel. According to the woman who answered the phone there would be no taxi available due to ‘something very bad that happened in town awhile ago’ but she offered to use her personal vehicle to scoop me up. Great! However, when I drove up to the airport and gave her a call, there was no answer. I was totally stood up! I looked inside though and it appeared a man was still working at the Hertz desk. Why he would still be working late at this tiny airport with no commercial flights was beyond me – I started walking up to the building. As I did that, the man abruptly got up, turned off all the lights, and went into the back. What. Seriously, am I in a scary movie? I ran back to the car and put my pepper spray in my pocket. I called the Hertz desk, and potential-ax-murderer man answered the phone. He confirmed the same story that there really were no taxis available, but offered to drive me to the hotel if I wanted.
Note: I do not suggest doing this if anyone else finds themselves in a similar position. However, I will point out that I sent a text with his license plate number so that people would be aware who kidnapped me.
As I settled into his car with my hand on my pepper spray, he looked at me and smiled and said “Haven’t ya ever seen the movie Deliverance?” My heart rate was through the roof, and I vowed to never get in a car with a strange man again if I could just get to my hotel safely. My prayers were answered and it turned out this man was harmless (at least this time) and I arrived at the Econo Lodge safely! My room was even complete with a wall of mirrors – woohoo! Classy, I know.
Saturday morning when the vans pulled in to scoop me up I couldn’t jump in fast enough. My remark of “I’m so happy to see people I know!” was met with a few looks of bewilderment as they were like “wait….you don’t know us.” But, I felt like I did already, as Rev3 has a way of making all things feel like a family affair. I was welcomed into the van of runners with smiles and many faces happy to see me….or maybe just happy to have some fresh legs on board 🙂 The starting point of the day was in Bluefield, and I quickly learned the ropes: Jump out of the van when it’s your turn, run until you get to a water bottle, and then get in the van that comes to pick you up. Repeat. Again. And again. And again. At some point you drive the van. Quick lunch stop. Run again. Don’t run on I-81 (Oops!). Run some more. Camp out in the Walmart parking lot and invade Applebees. Sleep. Repeat 🙂
I was lucky enough on Sunday to even get to run one of my legs through Charlottesville and pretend to be back in college. But perhaps what I enjoyed more than that was some of the long country roads in Virginia. These longer solo segments in the quiet really shed some light on what this was about, and gave you time to clear your mind and reflect on why our group was running across the country. It was a constant reminder that even when it became tough to finish your miles, there was someone out there who is fighting a much tougher battle with cancer. It was truly an honor to get to run on behalf of so many who can’t, and for so many who face a battle that makes a few miles a day seem like nothing. On Sunday we ran for Ellen, and you can read about her story in Stephanie’s blog post.
All in all, my time on the trip was filled with a lot of miles, high fives, honking horns, hugs, cowbell, and most of all laughter. In order to accomplish something like this I think that Rev3 made it clear that you have to keep your sense of humor, and always remember why you’re out there. Thank you to the gang who welcomed me on this trip and made it such a worthwhile cause for me to be a part of.
Although the journey across the country is over, the fight against cancer, of course, is not. If you would like to donate to the Ulman Cancer Fund, please do so through this link. Every little bit helps!
Thank you for reading!