Every year we ask our participants to think about their reason they signed up to Run Across America, their motivation, or as some may call it – their “why” – the fuel that gets them over the hills, through the windy and long plateaus, out on raining mornings and persistent during scorching afternoons.

While each photo doesn’t give a complete picture of that team, nor does each person’s post give a comprehensive summary of that person and their why, this begins to show the varying perspectives and personalities that come from our many 4Kers, when asked the question “Why do you run?”

Our hope in sharing these are for others to more deeply understand the diverse ways that cancer has impacted each 4K team and every single one of our 4Kers. We hope it serves as a reminder that although cancer can and will pervade lives in a multitude of ways, our response and the collected reaction can be unified and stronger when we work together.

Cancer changes lives. So do we.


“The 4K has been the best experience of my life. From visiting resilient cancer patients, interacting with our gracious hosts, and running with 20 of the most genuine and loving people I’ve met, I will treasure this special opportunity for the rest of my life. Not only have I gained a new appreciation for life, but I’ve also learned how to be stronger and more confident, thanks to my team and the amazing patients we talked to. CANCER CHANGES LIVES AND SO DO WE!”


“The 4K is an experience that took each runner’s heart and gave us a brand new one. We were allowed to see life with a new set of eyes truly living in the joy of simplicity. We learned that we won’t beat cancer for the whole universe, but we can bring hope to each person we meet and receive inspiration from them in return. We got to learn that hope changes people’s perspective and lessens the power cancer holds. With hope they could fight the good fight.”


“4K is different from other cancer fighting programs. 4K looks to connect and build communities that otherwise wouldn’t come to be. The communities built are where patients and their families find hope and faith that they need in their battles. 4K has taught me the importance of getting to know people, learning from others, and connecting with them, in a way that’s bigger than everything. I’m proud to be a part of an organization that cares so deeply.”


“4K has made me appreciate every second of life more deeply. Hope is why I ran every day, and endless love is what I’ve gained from my team and so many people along the way.”


“The 4K gave me a purpose to run other than for myself.”


“The 4K is absolutely incredible. I’ve connected with the best people and made memories that I’ll never forget.”


“The 4K for me has been a truly amazing experience where I was able to meet a whole new family. I decided to do the 4K because I felt I needed to give back in a way that was much bigger than myself – I wanted to give back to those who are hurting.”


“4K gave me the opportunity to slow down from my city life, see new places, meet inspiring people, and run for something bigger than myself.”


“Doing the 4K is the best decision I have ever made because it allowed me to make a difference in not only the lives of others but in my own as well. Every day gave me a new reason to love others and this life, and to give everything I have to the things and people that I believe in most.”


“I decided to do the 4K to honor those I know who have battled cancer, bring awareness to the fight that cancer patients and their loved ones face, and to show cancer patients that they are never fighting alone. Running is something I am very passionate about, and I am thankful that 4K allowed me to utilize my hobby to bring awareness and support individuals battling cancer.”


“Many people close to me have passed away from cancer. 4K was a unique experience that helped me cope the death of my loved ones while helping others cope as well. It’s difficult to wrap up what this trip has taught me. One main takeaway however is to enjoy the simplicity of life, such as watching the sun rise, sharing a moment with a teammate, or sleeping on a cushioned pew.”


“Being a part of the 4K was the best decision I have ever made. I’m honored to have met such selfless and courageous individuals I now can call family. 4K has taught me to always cherish how precious life is. This opportunity is something that I will never forget and I will always remember it as one of the best summers I have ever experienced.”


“I decided to do the 4K to bring hope and happiness to those who have been impacted by cancer. I found genuine love and joy from my teammates and numerous individuals during our journey across the United States.”


“The 4K was something I went into not at all understanding the impact it would have on not only me, but countless others’ lives. My heart is forever changed by this experience, and I will remember and cherish the friendships made throughout this summer for the rest of my life.”


“I decided to run the 4K so I could run across the country for a good cause, one that was greater than my immediate surrounding. I’ve gained a new family and a knowledge that no matter how crazy it is, I can do it.”


“I now have confidence to share my cancer journey and bring hope to others. The 4K is a chapter of my life that is going to influence the rest of my story.”


“The 4K left me with a sense of belonging and gratitude for everyone I’ve run with for the last 49 days. It helped me open up and find myself.”


“I usually don’t have expectations for things, but the 4K has been a rollercoaster of feelings and emotions. It is hard to picture myself doing anything else.”


“I chose to do the 4K in memory of my father who battled cancer as a young adult. The 4K allowed me to benefit this unique population affected by cancer and taught me that I could push myself beyond the mental limits I had for myself.”


“I decided to do 4K as a way to honor a close family friend who passed away from lung cancer a few years ago. The Ulman Cancer Fund stuck out to me since it helps foster a community and provide an inspiration for young adults struggling through a cancer diagnosis.”


“The 4K showed me I’m tougher than I thought I was and that I can do more than I ever believed. After running across the country, I realized that we don’t run AGAINST others in a race. We run to be WITH others and share our stories and miles, because every story and every mile matters.”