Pearson running across America through 4K for Cancer

Photo submitted
Becky Polaski
Staff Writer

While many elect to see the country traveling by car or bus, Ellie Pearson will be making the trek from coast to coast this summer using her own two feet.
As part of Team New York with 4K for Cancer, a program offered through the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, Pearson’s journey will begin in Yuba City, California on June 17 and conclude on Aug. 4 in New York City.
Ellie is the daughter of Tim and Bonnie Pearson of St. Marys and a student at Slippery Rock University. Tim is the manager of the City of St. Marys and Bonnie works in the office at St. Mary’s Parish. It was through St. Mary’s Church hosting individuals involved with a bike ride across the country through the same program, that Ellie first became aware of the 4K for Cancer.
“I volunteered to help the past couple years, and when I got talking to them about it I felt like it would be something I would be very interested in,” Pearson said. “I originally thought that I would bike, but being that I am a runner, I don’t know why I wouldn’t do what I am passionate about. I run cross country and track at college. I was running anyway, so training was something that I was already kind of doing.”
Once her spring track season concluded, Pearson began a training plan provided by 4K for Cancer to help her prepare for the event. According to the 4K for Cancer website, “all runners are required to follow a 20-week training plan and be comfortable running 10-minute miles or less.”
“They have a plan that starts pretty simple and low mileage and works up to running 11-13 miles on the weekends,” Pearson said.
She will fly to California on June 14 and then participate in orientation from June 15-16 before starting the run on June 17.
“We run in a relay-type form,” Pearson explained. “A partner and I will go out and run two miles and then get back in a van and two more people will get out and run two more miles. We just rotate through until we get to a host home. Our host homes are all churches, YMCAs, high schools and just any place that we have contacted, and they have offered us a place to sleep and sometimes meals, showers and laundry. All of our meals will be donations that we will go around asking businesses for as we travel across America.”
The runners are scheduled to be in Warren on Monday, July 30 and Bradford on Tuesday, July 31.
A full itinerary of Team New York’s route and planned stops can be found on the 4K for Cancer website,
The website also lists addresses for mail drop locations, where anyone who chooses to do so can mail something to members of the team.
In addition to running, Pearson noted that participants will also take part in service days interacting with cancer patients.
“We will hand out, I believe, two scholarships to two people who have been affected by cancer through their young adulthood so they can afford college,” Pearson said.
To help chronicle the journey and give family, friends and supporters an easy way to track the team’s progress, Pearson created a Facebook page called “Ellie’s run across America” that they can ‘like’ and ‘follow.’
“I will try to do live-streams daily and I posted on there the mail drop locations, so if anyone would like to send me or my team mail they can. Nothing too big because our space is limited, but I would love to get cancer stories or just words of support,” Pearson said.
The Facebook page also includes links to additional information about the 4K for Cancer, as well as a link to her official event fundraiser page, In order to participate in the 4K for Cancer, each individual must raise a minimum of $4,500. As of Tuesday afternoon, Pearson was at 88 percent of her fundraising goal.
As she prepares to begin her run, Pearson noted that one of her goals participating in the 4K for Cancer is to have a positive impact on at least one person throughout the journey.
“I would love for people suffering from cancer to know that they are not alone and that there are people out here fighting for them,” Pearson said.


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