Every year, about a month before the Hope Express run, the runners get together for an entire weekend to meet each other, go on a team run, and relax a bit. This year, Mike and Patty McCauley, Four Diamonds parents, graciously offered to house almost 40+ runners! Also new this year, the 2014 Hope Express will have 3 teams: Hope (135 miles), Conquer (123 miles), and Extreme (140 miles), all of which will depart from Hershey Medical Center on Thursday, February 20, 2014 and will arrive at PSU time for the start of THON on Friday, February 21, 2014!
Runner's weekend encompasses many emotions -- it can be overwhelming and nerve-wrecking (running with 40+ people and being timed for the first time this year!), but above all, it is a fun and exciting weekend. It was a reunion for us extremers (to be on extreme, you must first run on the hope team). There were laughs as the newbies unveiled their funky tights and tears as we heard stories from Four Diamonds moms and watched the THON documentary, "Why We Dance". This is the weekend when everything becomes real and gives many of us even more motivation to keep logging those miles outside, even when temperatures reach single digits.
In a little over a month, we will be carrying children's letters on our backs, tackling the mountains, as we run with hope in our hearts for those who can't - kids with cancer. And so, the countdown begins!
Check out a few pictures here!