Family & Friends

Did your child or friend just join our program? Chances are you have some questions. Please read below to help answer some concerns you may have and fill out our contact form to stay up to date with information as the summer approaches. Family & Friends Contact Form

Key Dates

A comprehensive Send-Off packet will be sent to participants & family in March, in order to receive updates regarding events, please complete the contact form above.


Ride Orientation – Columbia, MD – May 29 – May 30, 2020

Ride Send-Off Dinner – Columbia, MD – May 29, 2020

Ride Send-Off – Baltimore, MD – May 31, 2020

Ride Arrivals – San Francisco – August 8, 2020



Run Orientation – Columbia, MD – June 19-20, 2020

Run Send-Off Dinner – Columbia, MD – June 19, 2020

Run Send-Off – Baltimore, MD – June 21, 2020

Run Arrivals – San Francisco, CA – August 8, 2020


Family & Friends FAQs


How can I help my participant fundraise?

Each rider and runner is given a fundraising guide to help them get started. You can help by sharing your participant’s fundraising link within your networks via email or social media, assist in hosting a fundraising event, and see if your company participates in a matching gift program.  If you choose to make any handouts (flyers, business cards, etc.) to help spread the word please make sure you review our branding and logo policy first.

How can I best support my participant on the trip?

The best way to support your 4K participant is through text messages, emails, and care packages at mail drops. There will be designated mail drops along the route where care packages can be sent. The addresses of these mail drops will be posted on the team pages closer to send off. Participants typically enjoy receiving food in the mail. Great things to include are trail mix, bars, baked goods, and sports drink powders. We highly recommend contacting your participant as to their specific wants or needs they may have on the trip because space is very limited in the vans.

How are the participants supported on the trip?

The teams are provided passenger vans to carry their gear and transport the team on rest days. Each van is equipped with a credit card for gas and emergencies. Additionally, the vans have first aid kits, sunscreen, bug spray, water coolers, and food storage. Each team also has a satellite phone if they encounter an emergency situation without cell phone reception.

Where do the participants stay each night?

Along the route, our participants will be provided accommodations by new and old 4K hosts. Hosts include churches, school gyms, community centers, college dorms and/or hotels. Our teams will occasionally camp when they pass through national parks or more rural communities. Ulman will provide each team with enough tents for these occasions. Participants should bring their own sleeping bag, sleeping pad and pillow.

Are meals provided for the teams?

Our teams reach out to the communities they are traveling through for food donations and support. Typically hosts will provide breakfast and/or dinner, but in the event they do not, the team will go out and solicit food donations from local and chain establishments. It’s amazing the generosity our teams receive. In the event there is a town or location where they are unable to get food donated or are unable to get enough donated for the entire team, there is a food budget to assist them.

If you’re interested in providing a meal for your participant’s team, please get in touch with the staff at

How are the routes planned?

The routes are carefully chosen by the program coordinators prior to the trip. Each team will be provided with a binder that includes all of the routes for the trip and cue sheets. All participants have access to the routes.

Each route is chosen based on safety standards that include shoulder width, speed limit, and amount of traffic. If a team comes to a road closure or needs to reroute they will contact their program coordinator for approval. In the event they are unable to reach the coordinator for approval or are unable to locate a safe alternative, the team will shuttle over that portion of the road and continue the day’s journey when the road is safe again.

What do the participants do in bad weather?

The team will check the weather the night before to prepare for any bad weather. As long as visibility does not become too poor, they are permitted to run and ride in the rain. Each team will also be provided reflective vests for these occasions.

Riders/Runners are not permitted to run or ride in hail, thunder, lightning or other extreme weather conditions. If a storm approaches a group suddenly, they will find the closest shelter and wait out the storm if possible. If the storm persists the group will contact a van to pick them up and they will be shuttled to the host. Participants must shuttle when the heat index rises above 110 degrees fahrenheit.


Who drives the support vans?

All participants have scheduled van days. Those who are 21 years or older and have a valid license will be responsible for driving the vans. Anyone who is under 21, does not feel comfortable driving a 15 passenger van, or who does not have a license are responsible for navigating and chalking turns to direct participants. When on van duty participants are responsible for securing food donations.

If a participant is driving and damages the van, who provides the insurance?

In case of an accident, Ulman Cancer Fund vans are insured for all drivers who are 21 years or older. However, if a participant is found at fault for any damages (i.e. participant backs up into something) they are personally responsible for paying the $500 deductible. In the event a van needs to be replaced, we will work to get a replacement as soon as possible. We do not allow participants to travel on the road unsupported.

What safety measures have you taken on the ride and run?

We are committed to ensuring the safety of all our participants. Each year we evaluate the safety protocols for our program and collaborate with other organizations to implement best practices. The following safety measures have been implemented for our program:

  • Cycling and running safety guides and tests
  • Staff created and reviewed routes
  • Orientation
    • Training ride/run
    • Van driving
    • Policies and procedures
    • Emergency action plan
    • Bike maintenance
  • Red Cross CPR/First Aid certification
  • Satellite phones
  • Vehicle trackers
  • Required lights or reflective bands and vests
Does the Ulman staff travel with the teams?

One program coordinator will travel with each team for the first 3 days of the trip to help them get into a routine. The first day of the trip the coordinators and 4K alumni will drive the vans, so everyone can run or ride. Beginning on the second day each team will assume their responsibilities of driving the vans and securing food donations.

Each day the team will become more self-sufficient with support from the coordinator and gain the confidence they need to continue on their way. While the coordinator does not stay with the team for the duration of the trip, they are always available via phone and email to answer any questions and offer advice. Each team also has two directors who are trained by the Ulman Cancer Fund staff to have a thorough understanding of the policies, procedures, and safety protocol while on the road.

A program coordinator will also visit each team in the middle of their journey. During this mid-trip visit that the coordinator will facilitate a team meeting, check in with participants, and help restock supplies. Alumni will help on the final day to allow all participants to ride or run into their destination city.

How much money should my participant expect to spend during the trip?

Participant spending during the summer can vary immensely, most participants spend an average of $300-500. Food and lodging are donated, which can keep costs low during the summer if participants are mindful of their budget. Typically participants will spend money on souvenirs for friends and family, t-shirts from national parks or cities they visit, stickers for their bikes or water bottles, and postcards. Additional costs for cyclists can include extra tubes for flat tires and maintenance for their bikes. Participants are encouraged to only to take a small amount of cash for places where credit cards aren’t accepted and a debit or credit card for larger expenses or emergencies.

What should I purchase for my participant?

Please review the gear guide to see what is recommended and/or required by staff. Keep in mind the packing list was created to offer recommendations, but not everything is necessary. Participants are allowed to bring one duffel bag (provided by Ulman) and one backpack. Talk to your participant to gauge which items they have, which they will purchase, and which they could use some help acquiring.

How can I find the team’s mail drops?

The mail drops will be listed each of the teams’ pages on our website about two weeks before Send-Off. Because the mail drops vary from year to year, we do not have a set date as to when they will be available, but they will be listed before the trip begins. It is important to keep in mind that there is limited space in the vans so care packages should be limited to smaller items and food.

Can we visit our participant on the trip?

We recommend attending the Send-Off and Arrival of your participant. If you choose to meet up with a team on the trip, we ask that you don’t stay at their host, and try to limit your visit to 1 day. During the team’s rest days they often have service events to attend.

Do you provide health insurance for participants?

No, we do not provide health insurance for our participants. We do require that all of our participants carry a health insurance policy during their trip.

Hear It From Parents

“The Ulman 4K for Cancer Portland Ride changed my son’s life… It was with great trepidation that we gave Matthew his last hug at the send-off in the Inner Harbor. We simply could not fathom his ability to accomplish such a feat as riding across the country with all the adversity we knew the riders would encounter. In one of my most difficult moments of letting go as a parent, I watched him ride away. Little did I know how grateful I would be for this experience and the transformation it would have on Matthew’s life.

As the summer gave way to fall and Matthew returned to school we’ve seen a transformation that was born out of his 4K Portland Ride. We see a son who continually expresses appreciation for what others do for him. We see a son who has more patience and tolerance for others and for their burdens. We see a son who is more resourceful in solving problems. We see a son who no longer struggles with self-confidence. We see a son manages stress in a way we never dreamed possible.”

Rachel Anne Day & Michael Davis

4K Parents


Participants more confident in conflict management.


Participants who improved their problem solving skills.


Participants who feel they can apply what they learned on 4K to their personal and professional lives.

Still have questions?

Reach out to our staff at