Runner to aid Zaching Against Cancer group
Ellicott City man to run 210 miles
Running for cancer awareness plays a big role in the Zaching Against Cancer Foundation, but on Sunday, 49-year-old Russell “Rusty” Allwein started taking his efforts to a whole other altitude as he began a seven-day 210-mile mountain run from Morgantown, W.Va., to College Park.
The Ellicott City resident’s trek began at his alma mater, West Virginia University, at the Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, and will conclude a week later at Maryland Stadium at College Park.
Zaching Against Cancer continues the work of 18-year-old Zachary Lederer, a student at College Park who was diagnosed with brain cancer and shared his interest in raising money and support for cancer patients. Lederer was well known on social media for his strongman pose captured in a viral photo following surgery in January 2012.
Allwein said he had heard of Lederer’s efforts before his death in March 2014 and soon began working with the teen’s parents, John and Christine Lederer, who continue running the foundation.
“We started working on a 5K in 2014 that benefited the foundation, which was shortly after Zach passed away,” Allwein said. “Just getting to know them had a lot to do with choosing the Zaching Against Cancer Foundation. One of the big things I see is some of the outreach they do for cancer patients and the ways they help people.”
Allwein volunteers with the foundation as its race director.
Allwein said he based the Zaching Across the Mountains run on a fundraising relay he had done at West Virginia University with his fraternity. His mountain run raises funds for the foundation through donations of $25 per mile, each mile dedicated in memory or in honor of cancer patients and survivors. Although it has just started, the run has already exceeded its $5,000 goal, raising a total of $5,445 and counting.
A volunteer crew follows Allwein in a recreational vehicle throughout his journey, he said, and he’s aware of some obstacles he may face along the road.
“The first [challenge] will be the first day ending with four miles of serious elevation,” Allwein said about the 1,300-foot ascension between miles 26 and 30. “Then, what I’ve noticed in training is how hungry I am the day after a long run. So, the challenge is going to be eating and resting after I finish that day so I can get up and do it again the next day.”
John Lederer has joined Allwein on the trip in the RV for the first few days and then will finish the trip on the final day.
Sunday afternoon, Lederer reported the runner had finished 30.74 miles in about 10 hours.
“It was very treacherous with a lot of elevation gain and drop,” Lederer said. “He actually wanted to go further today, but we kind of put the reins on him.”
Allwein mapped out campgrounds and rest stops along his route.
“I figure after three or four days I’m probably going to experience some serious fatigue and I’ll have to incorporate some hiking and power walking,” he said before leaving. “But I’ll do whatever it takes.”