Today was amazing. My first run took me into Mansfield, where I was greeted by the kids from the Tioga County YMCA, as well as the employees of the First Citizens Bank of Mansfield, my aunt Carol and uncle Jim, and many others. It felt really nice having people come out and show their support.
My next run ended at a rest stop on the top of Sylvania Mountain, between Mansfield and Troy. Tom Fitzpatrick, who was my support crew for part of Kansas, met us there and hung out while I took my break. After that, I headed to Troy. Ryan Van Noy joined me for the last mile or so of the run. It was nice getting to chat with him briefly and it’s just nice to have someone to run with.
Once I got to Troy I was greeted by another group of people including Bonnie Millard who put on a bake sale and donated all of the money from it to my run. I took a pretty long break before heading out for the last leg of the day.
Some runners from Troy joined me for the run to Alba, which is the halfway point between Troy and Canton. Then once we got to Alba, there was a huge group of runners waiting to run with me from Alba to Canton, including some of my old teammates (Luke Johnson and Brady Finogle), some of the current runners for Canton, my coach Steve Williams, and the Canton coach Barry Morgan.
We took the back way into Canton due to road construction, and my dad followed us in the RV. All along the way there were people standing alongside the road cheering us on and signs all over the place that people made for the run. Once we finally got into Canton, we were stopped and had to wait for a few minutes. Then they had us follow the firetrucks and ambulances onto Troy Street and down to Main Street.
When we were running down Troy Street I was amazed how many people were out lined up along the sidewalk cheering us on. Then when we turned the corner onto Main Street, I was absolutely blown away. The entire block was packed full of people cheering and wearing shirts for my run. It’s the most amount of people I think I’ve ever seen in Canton. Shane Wilber from the local radio station Wiggle 100 was there with a microphone and sound system pumping up the crowd. Once we stopped running, a bunch of news stations and papers started to come up and interview me. The whole thing was so surreal. I felt bad because I didn’t have time to talk to everyone since there were so many people, it was so crazy.
I can’t thank everyone enough for coming out and showing their support. When I was out west running by myself, I had no idea how many people were following my run or paying attention, so to have this kind of reception was just incredible, and it means so much to me. This last week of my trip will be so much easier now that I know I’ve got so many amazing people back home cheering me on.