Ryan Wade is currently halfway through his run across the state of Iowa, and if you haven’t been following the action, there is still time to catch up on all the fun. Wade will be running through the Iowa City area tomorrow and he’d love to see you there. For more information on when and where he’ll be passing through, as well as a way to donate to his cause (which supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) be sure to check out his homepage and Facebook Page.

To catch up on all the action, check out the recaps from day #1 – day  #3:

Day #1

Ryan Wade started his journey running across Iowa at the stroke of midnight on April 19th, at the border of Iowa and Minnesota, and in that spot between states, between days and between big dreams and actual reality, Wade was ready to tackle the course with the same mentality that his campaign for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has been based upon, One Step at a Time.

Rain was the name of the game for Wade and his support crew who ran 15 miles between the hours of midnight and 3:00 a.m. early Tuesday morning, but that didn’t seem to damper his spirits, or the spirits of Trevor Hallam and S­­ean Beard who ran alongside him, and despite the big hills and little sleep attained by the athletes and crew, everyone was all smiles when they eventually ran the 20 miles into Waukon, IA at 10:00 a.m. for a welcomed welcome-committee from the Chamber of Commerce.

Waukon, Iowa, if you haven’t had the chance to run through or visit, is a charming community of which Wade wishes he had more time to visit, but in his time there he did manage to meet a collection of nice people including the Monsignor at Saint Patrick’s (who gave Wade his blessing), a few community members including Nalla’s great grandma who shared Nalla’s story to the crew (Prayers for Nalla), of which surely gave Wade even more inspiration to run the rest of the 16 miles for the day.

Wade didn’t run those last 16 miles alone either, and with the support of his friends Taylor Parker, Greg McLaughlin & Luke Recker (#24) who journeyed from Iowa City to jog alongside Wade, and the three of them made their way through the beautiful northeast Iowa scenery. Mile 22 marked a special moment for everyone involved, commemorating the spirit of Austin “Flash” Schroeder, whose story is far from over in Wade’s run across Iowa.

Wade finished his total 38 miles and day #1 of running around 3:30 p.m. alongside his friends, and was welcomed back to his R.V. with fresh bacon, a Subway sandwich and a place to stretch his legs. The rest of the evening was devoted to recovery, and to scoping out one of the pit-stops for day #2 (Elkader), where his legs will take him and the adventure will surely continue.  


Day #2

Day #2 on Ryan Wade’s running odyssey across Iowa illustrated the Yin & Yang of Iowa spring weather, beginning with bright and beautiful sunny skies and ending with steady streams of fresh rain. Between the varying weather forecast there was a full spectrum of activity including new four-legged friends, scenic byways and nearly 35 miles of running. While Wade’s legs never gave out, even with the fresh rain momentarily weighing him down, it’s become clear to everyone involved that this task of running across Iowa can only be reserved for those with courage pumping through their veins.

The first stop of the day was in the town of Elkader (which is in the running for the most beautiful town in Iowa), where Wade and the support team were treated to lunch by the supporting sponsors of our trip, Central State Bank, who through their generous support (and delicious lunch) this trip found its fuel and the LLS found increased ways to change more lives.

After refueling in Elkader, Wade hit the road alongside the rain, and for just a moment, somewhere between the rain falling and the miles adding up, Wade found himself in a hard spot accustomed to anyone who ever had to work hard for their goals. Doubt is a fickle beast, and as it was proven today, can be best fought with the encouragement and support of friends and family. Big thanks to Abby Johnson, Neil Havlik & Kerry Thompson (of the world-famous Thompson Floors) who not only provided Wade a running partner, but provided some much needed encouragement to find that finish line for the day.

The day ended 35 miles farther south than it started in the town of Edgewood, and while Wade and his support team shouldn’t be surprised by the hospitality met in each town, Edgewood provided their ‘own charm and hospitality in the form of the dinner tab getting picked up at Franny’s Edgewood. Wade and his support team are looking forward to our next adventure in the town of Edgewood, as for now though, it’s getting late, and Day #3 is right around the corner. Next on the plate is some solid Z’s and good dreams about fresh legs. Until then, Wade’s encouraging everyone to live their own adventure and take it One Step at a Time.


Day #3

Day #3 of Ryan Wade’s expedition across Iowa and his feet haven’t fallen off yet, not for a lack of trying though. With a big 42 miles under his belt for the day, Wade might be walking around town like a cowboy whose ridden in the saddle too long, but it’s hard to catch him without a smile on his face. It might be the nice weather or the beautiful scenery that Iowa blessed the team with today, but more than likely it’s the people Wade has run across as he makes his way from one community to the next that makes his smile so big.

The first stop on day #3 was in Manchester, Iowa where the local radio station, KMCH The Mix, was kind enough to push the microphone close to Wade’s naturally soft-spoken voice and give him the chance to tell his story. As we’ve been finding out though, it’s not Wade’s story he’s telling, and as Wade puts it, the story isn’t about him at all – it’s about all of the survivors, caregivers and family members who have gone through harder ordeals than simply lacing up some running shoes and pounding the pavement. Big thanks to Rhonda Mensen and the crew at KMCH for giving us the opportunity to expand the conversation and awareness of the good work done by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Two outstanding athletes joined Wade today, and his epic 42 miles wouldn’t have been possible without Chad Furlong and Anne Johnson alongside his heels as he made his way to Coggon. It was a rough one, and if the support team has learned anything, it’s that a person running 40+ miles isn’t an ordinary person at moments, they are a sensitive creature confused in this world, looking for a reason why their body is still going, and if you have to blast whatever music you can find on the radio station to keep them going, if you have to dance and sing and perhaps act a little silly, even if their eyes are on the ground, their ears will hear the encouragement.

The night ended back where it started, in Edgewood, where we doubled back and the community once again stepped up to the plate and delivered on what it means to be an Iowa community. It wasn’t just the outstanding $4,520 the community presented to Wade, or the amazing home cooked meal bought for us by the town Cafe Rose, but it was more in the way they shook our hands, patted our backs, and made us feel at home despite being so far away from our own.

In our time back in Edgewood, Wade and the support team were lucky enough to meet a young man named Jake, who at the age of 10 was a Leukemia survivor, showing to all of us that you don’t need running shoes to inspire, you don’t need to bag 42 miles to be a fighter, and that sometimes when life deals you a patch of bad luck, all you can do sometimes is take it One Step at a Time.

Thanks to everyone who has made this journey what it is, and from Wade and his support crew stationed in the RV (generously donated for the week by Good Life RV), we are looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings and can’t wait to run into everyone down the road.