Runners pound the pavement for a special cause

The Great American Relay has touched down in the Wabash Valley! Runners started in Boston and won't stop till they reach the West Coast. That's nearly 3,000 miles of running!

Posted: Sep 26, 2021 8:51 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The Great American Relay has touched down in the Wabash Valley! Runners started in Boston and won't stop till they reach the West Coast. That's nearly 3,000 miles of running!

Runners pass a baton every 10 miles during the Great American Relay Race. It symbolizes more than just a relay, but a special cause as well. This is the second year of the Great American Relay Race and this relay from coast to coast honors fallen Americans in a unique way. Race Director Vince Varallo says participants are pounding the pavement to show honor to first responders.

"A relay across the entire country on 9/11 at exactly 8:46 at the 20 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the world trade center. We started a relay in Boston and we're not finishing until we hit the same Santa Monica Pier in California."

They plan to hit the West Coast by October 19th. Runner David Lawrence came all the way from Greenbay Wisconsin to participate. He says they stop at dozens of fire stations along the way to pay tribute.

"Get to know the firefighters thank them for the job they're doing-especially the police as well and quick responders, socialize a little bit. We've been very fortunate this year that we've had escorts services from some of the fire stations."

Lawrence's route included a stop in Casey Illinois at the fire station. He is just one of more than 900 runners who participate in this relay.

"I'm 56 years old I'm still young in my opinion, I've been running for about 6 years my original goal was to run a marathon at age 50 and that didn't happen it happened at 51 and from there I've run about a dozen marathons in various shorter distant races."

They plan to make this trek across the country in 38 days going through 18 states. And, they are planning to raise money for 3 organizations.

"The Green Berets Foundation which helps green berets assimilate back into society after their service, The Concerns of Police Survivors Foundation which helps spouses of fallen officers and also the Firefighter 5 Foundation which helps bring awareness to first responders suicide. Which the 5 stands for how many suicides happen per week on average for first responders."

If you would like to know more and see how you can get involved click here.

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