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Catonsville residents in run from San Francisco to Baltimore

Most people would train for months in order to run a 13.1-mile half-marathon in one day.

This summer, two Catonsville residents will be running 12 miles a day for a month.

Kevin McClellan, 21, and Hallie Schmidt, 19, are participating in the Ulman Cancer Fund's inaugural 4K For Cancer run from San Francisco to Baltimore.

Their journey of more than 4,000 miles was scheduled to begin June 15 in California and end July 14 at the Inner Harbor.

The 4K for Cancer fundraiser began in 2002 as a bicycle ride across the country. This is the first year the group has sponsored a run.

Schmidt said she originally wanted to participate in the bike ride — there are four routes, all leaving from Baltimore and ending in different cities along the West Coast.

But she said she got bogged down with school work and all the rides were full by January, when she went to submit her application.

"I looked at the run and there were only like five to 10 people who had signed up for that," said Schmidt, a rising junior at the University of Maryland, College Park. "That's when I finished the application and I applied for the run."

According to the cancer fund website, the 4K's mission is, "empowering young adults in uniting communities across the country in the fight against cancer through community service and support." That vision struck a personal chord with Schmidt when she was applied.

"I'm doing it, because my dad had appendix cancer about two years ago," said Schmidt, an art major who graduated from Catonsville High School.

She said doctors found a tumor attached to her father's appendix after he went to the hospital for severe stomach pains and had his appendix removed.

The doctors determined that the cancer had spread within his abdomen. He underwent a new procedure called Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC), during which heated liquid chemo flows through the abdomen and manually shaken, spreading throughout the entire cavity to quickly kill any remaining cancer cells.

"He recovered really fast. It got rid of the tumor which was great," Schmidt said.

She said her father is now healthy and runs eight or nine miles each day. "He runs more than me," she said.

He was her inspiration to apply for the 4K.

"He's a lot more health conscious than he was and it's just really inspiring," she said. "And that's what's pushing me to do this crazy run."

She said she is close friends with McClellan and that he was always there for her during her dad's battle with cancer, which is what inspired him to participate as well.

"He didn't really know what he wanted to do this summer and I was kind of joking and said, 'You could apply and do this run'," Schmidt said. "And they accepted him and now he's been training harder than I have."

"We became really good friends (in high school)," said McClellan, a rising senior at McDaniel College. "She got me into running."

"I've been slowly getting back into running shape," said McClellan, who joined the McDaniel cross country team in fall of 2012 and is now recovering from severe shin splints.

"It wasn't as easy as I thought," the sociology major said. "I've been taking it slow, icing all the time."

During the trip this summer, 10 teams of two runners will run 12 one- to two-mile increments per day. After each increment, they will be picked up by a chase van and driven to the next checkpoint where they will begin the next leg of running, McClellan said.

He said he and Schmidt have been running 30-40 miles per week to train for the event, but he's nervous it might not be enough.

"Of course, we'll be doing 30 to 40 miles in a couple days (once we start)," McClellan said.

Each runner will complete between 12 and 16 miles per day and will get five "rest days" throughout the trip, during which they will drive the chase van containing all of their luggage.

"I've never done anything like this before," Schmidt said. "I'm interested to see how my body will take it, but I'm hoping that it will be fun."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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