Church, Relay Host 25 Cross-County Runners

A Moundsville church, along with the Marshall County Relay for Life, became a part of a cross-country run Wednesday, hosting 25 young adults who are running to raise money for the fight against cancer.

The First Christian Church hosted the runners, who on Saturday will complete their 4,000 mile trip that began June 15 in San Francisco.

Once they arrived in Moundsville, they had only to go to Baltimore, a place where state of New York resident Devin Sullivan is quite familiar since she will be a sophomore at the University of Maryland.

Sullivan said the 21 young women and four young men, ages 18-24, are either college students or college graduates. They are partnering in this venture by the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.

Each runner had to raise at least $4,500 before they were eligible to participate. Once completed, the run will have covered 42 days.

Sullivan said by a relay format, they have been able to cover 100 or more miles a day, and thus each runner has to run an average of 10 miles per day.

Using five vans, they are transported to different starting points in order to cover the distance each day.

“Everyone has several duties to perform each day, including driving the vans,” Sullivan said.

Since individuals are from both coasts and many states in between – as well as Alaska – only a few were acquainted when the run began. Sullivan said some had running experience, but others didn’t. Sullivan said that the majority had started getting prepared for the run in January.

Sullivan said that there are many logistics connected with the run, and as leg leader she was responsible to determine where they were projected to be on a particular night, and then make contact with someone in that city who could help them find lodging.

When she called the First Christian Church, she was placed in contact with Pastor Howsare, who had never heard of the 4K for Cancer.

However, he was interested in assisting them as his younger sister, Sharon, had been a cancer victim a few years ago.

He contacted Sullivan and informed her the church would be pleased to host them not only with sleeping accommodations, but would provide an evening meal and a breakfast for them.

Both Howsare and Karen Gast, a member of the First Christian Church’s Relay for Life team were at the church when the runners left Thursday, and were pleased to learn the runners had decided to paint the names of Sharon and Ray, the late husband of Karen, who had died from cancer, on the back of their legs. Howsare and Gast learned that each day the runners honor individuals in this manner.

Howsare and Gast said they were honored to have the opportunity to have met these young people, who they described as being friendly and polite.