From Cross Country to Across the Country: Week 2
Chronicling the journey of graduating senior Lauren Bates.
Lauren Bates is completing an internship this summer that will complete her degree in exercise science from SUNY Brockport. The two-sport student athlete (cross country and track and field) is serving as the trainer for a program, 4K for Cancer, that is running from San Francisco to Boston to support cancer research. Below are excerpts from the journal she's keeping to chronicle her journey. Bates agreed to share them with The Port.
Day 9 (Salt Lake City, UT)
"After our hike, we greeted Ricky and his girlfriend Lexi for our first scholarship dinner. Ricky is one of the most incredible young men I have ever met! He said, 'Cancer brought out the best of me.' It was inspiring how his fiancé Lexi is also a cancer survivor. They are 19 and 17, so in love, and mature beyond their years. Despite being faced with cancer, they found each other, and now they want to spend the rest of their lives together. Tonight was what it's all about. They weren't a couple with cancer; they were a couple in love who fought through cancer together."
Day 10 (Salt Lake City, UT to Pocatello, ID)
"I woke up this morning tired, but I thought about Ricky and Lexi and how incredible their spirit is, and suddenly the 12 miles ahead of me no longer seemed so daunting. I got to FaceTime with my parents, so that was wonderful, because I have been missing them. Then, I checked up on my teammates for injuries, reported to my boss, and wrote out some postcards. I can't believe it's our tenth day of running."
Team miles: 151
My miles: 12
Day 11 (Pocatello, ID to Idaho Falls, ID)
"The highlight of today's run was the Idaho Potato Museum. They had a giant potato to take pictures of and a whole potato gift shop. It was so cool! Today we had a short run day and finished by noon. A group of us decided to venture to Mesa Falls to see a beautiful waterfall and hike! Idaho really impressed me though! I'm not sure why they celebrate potatoes so much, because their state is just as pretty as Utah."
Team miles: 80
My miles: 7
Day 12 (Idaho Falls, ID to Jackson, WY)
"Well, today was the first day that running got really hard. I had been very surprised leading up to today with how great I felt... but, today, the five hours of sleep on the floor finally caught up to me. The run was so beautiful through the Grand Tetons. I really wish my body felt better to enjoy it. Nevertheless, I thought about my why and the incredible survivors I have met, and with the help of my teammate Laurel, I pushed through!"
Team miles: 112
My miles: 10
Day 13 (Jackson, WY)
"Today was our first — and very needed — rest day with no plans but to recharge. We went hiking on the wildflower/lower loop trail in Jackson Hole, shopped in town, and hung out. Next week we get into our real routine, meaning no more mileage cap at 10-12. I will be running 64 miles in five days. I am ready for this challenge. I know my teammates have my back."
Team miles: 0
My miles: 0
Day 14 (Jackson, WY to West Yellowstone, MT)
"Today was quite the day... bears, bison, and elk, oh my! We attempted to run through Yellowstone, but after getting called 'bear bait' at tourist sites like Old Faithful (Yellowstone's famous geyser), we did our running for the day in West Yellowstone to make up for the miles we missed while avoiding the very wild wildlife. About five miles into our run, I stopped our group because I thought I saw a dog... but about 200 meters away was a brown bear cub. Overall, it was a crazy but beautiful day of running."
Team miles: 135
My miles: 12
Day 15 (West Yellowstone, MT to Bozeman, MT)
"This morning started with our usual dedication circle. Someone reads the story of a cancer patient that has been impacted by Ulman. They always inspire us and we dedicate our miles to them, but today's story really moved us. It was about an 11-year-old named Sandy. She lost her battle to cancer, but in the days leading up to her death, she inspired her friends and family with her strength and wisdom beyond her years. She knew that life was all about spending time with the ones we love. Today was the perfect reminder that we have to spend time with the ones we love and make sure they know how we feel."
Team miles: 93
My miles: 8.6
Would you like to support Lauren?
Donate, or you can mail her a letter or a package of snacks to the following locations:
c/o Memorial Lutheran Church
5000 S Western Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57108
c/o Adam Morgan – Housing Services
2345 N. Sheffield Ave., Ste. 301
Chicago, IL 60614
c/o St. Marks Episcopal Church
6595 E Quaker St.
Orchard Park, NY 14127