He has less than a week to go before he arrives in Baltimore and the finish of the Ulman Cancer Fund's inaugural 4K for Cancer run and Catonsville resident Kevin McClellan is exhausted.
McClellan, 21, has been running 12 miles almost every day since he and his teammates began their journey of more than 4,000 miles from San Francision on June 15.
The trip will culminate with an arrival ceremony at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 14, at the Inner Harbor.
As of July 5, McLellan said he has been hampered by a host of injuries as his body struggled to cope with the daily stress of running nearly half the distance of a marathon every day.
"My IT (iliotibial band) is really hurting in my hip," he said. "It's kind of hard to walk sometimes.
"Running is kind of hard at the moment," he added. "I've been doing walking days."
He said the daunting runs have taken a toll on his teammates as well, potentially affecting the outcome of their trip.
"We're covering less miles," McClellan said. "By the end of the trip we probably won't have covered the 4,000 miles that we were expecting to."
Despite injuries, McClellan said the group has been able to enjoy the trip and meet the trip's goal to spread awareness about cancer treatment.
McClellan said he spent his Fourth of July holiday exploring St. Louis and catching up on some much-needed rest. He said he was sad he wasn't home to see the Catonsville parade this year.
"I've been to it so many times," he said. "It's fun though. I missed it. There's no place like Catonsville."
The day after the annual summer holiday celebration in his hometown, McClellan had used some creativity to brighten the group's daily run.
"One of the runners had a flag scarf kind of thing," McClellan said. "Since I was walking, I sort of took that and tailored different outfits. One was a cape. Another was kind of like a beach skirt and at the end of the day almost kind of like a diaper," he said. "I was walking through this town with my running partners in an American flag diaper."
He said a police officer in the town approached the group and, to the runners' surprise, did not get McClellan in trouble for his outfit.
"He was excited," McClellan said. "He wanted to know what we were doing. He took a picture of us"
The 4K for Cancer fundraiser began in 2002 as a bicycle ride across the country. This is the first year the organization has sponsored a run.
During the inaugural event this summer, 10 teams of two runners were to run 12 one- to two-mile increments per day. After each increment, they were to be picked up by a chase van and driven to the next checkpoint to begin the next leg of running, McClellan said.
He is looking forward to the return to Baltimore to see his friends and family and have them greet him Sunday at the welcome ceremony atop Federal Hill.
"I'm a little worried about myself (my injuries), but I'll be pretty proud of what I've been able to do," he said. "I'll be happy that I did this, even though I'll be limping everywhere."
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