Iowa Men Set to Complete 99 County Journey
DES MOINES, Iowa – Two men, more than 2,700 miles and thousands of dollars for heart health – this week Daren Schumaker and Dennis Lee of Cedar Rapids will complete the journey of a lifetime.
The men will cross their final finish line in Delaware County as they conclude an 8-year quest to run a marathon in each Iowa county.
The pair started Team 99 Counties to raise money for the American Heart Association, a cause that Schumaker explains is close to their hearts.
"You only get one crack at this thing we call life,” he states. “Heart disease is something that's impacted my family. It's literally something that I'll be running from my whole life.”
The pair has faced rain, snow, heat, injury and mental defeat, but Lee says the support of family, friends, strangers and each other has kept them going.
"Only maybe one time we were crossing a county where we kind of were both down,” he relates. “One of us is always picking the other up and have been able to get through some really tough times.”
Team 99 wants to raise $25,000 for the American Heart Association in time for the Cedar Rapids Heart Walk in September.
Lee adds that while inspiring others to take an active role in their own health is a primary goal, he and Schumaker also hope to share just how much Iowa has to offer.
"When you're out running across each county there is so much in this state that people probably would never know, so many different things to see, there's amazing people everywhere,” Lee points out. “This kind of thing probably only happens once in a lifetime if you're lucky."
Schumaker says he and Lee learned a lot about their own mental and physical capabilities. Their motto: "inspiration through perspiration."
"You do a marathon, that's a pretty big accomplishment,” Schumaker states. “But you keep grinding your way through 99 of them and it just shows how much you can grow as a person. We are going to cry like little girls when we finish, so just be ready for that."
You can learn more or donate by searching for Team 99 Counties at linncountyheartwalk.org.