COMMUNITY: Long, winding (and hilly) road

Team 99 Counties completes longest trek yet

Dennis Lee (left) and Daren Schumaker head past a farm in Woodbury County, their longest trek yet. The ran 40.7 miles in just under six hours. (Team 99 Counties photo)
Dennis Lee (left) and Daren Schumaker head past a farm in Woodbury County, their longest trek yet. The ran 40.7 miles in just under six hours. (Team 99 Counties photo)

Editor’s note: Daren Schumaker of Cedar Rapids and Dennis Lee of Walford are attempting to run across Iowa’s 99 counties to raise money for the American Heart Association. They have completed 57 counties. This is No. 57. Next: Des Moines.

By Daren Schumaker, community contributor

Motivation. Inspiration. Teamwork. Self-efficacy.

To some, we’re sure it seems as if we have been singing this song for so long its melody has long ago faded into the background music of your life’s work. The fact is, it is easy to sing this song. It is easy to talk the talk. It is not too difficult to walk the walk or play the part. Words on paper speak, but actions often speak louder.

We’ve be singing this song for so long that, at times, even our own ears have become deaf to the notes of its beautiful melody. If we ask others to do what seems uncomfortable or impossible, we truly need to do the same. For us, it was time to run the run. It was time for us to run the run that we had spent many months avoiding.

It was time for Woodbury County.

The challenges presented by Woodbury County had made it elusive. Location, distance and topography. After spending the night across the Big Sioux River in South Dakota, we woke early and entered the sleeping giant of Woodbury County. We took a moment to dip our shoes in the Missouri River before we started our eastward journey from “The Sergeant Floyd,” the “working boat” located at the Sergeant Floyd River Museum & Welcome Center.

Despite the chill in the air, the weather at the time of our 6:10 a.m. departure was a welcome change from the rain that had haunted us Taylor and Madison counties.

We followed the Missouri River eastward, crossed the Floyd River, and stopped for a photo at the Miles Inn (an “institution” in Sioux City) before jumping across Gordon Drive and landing on Correctionville Road where we resumed our eastward march. We passed Bacon Creek Park and traversed the first of many “rolling hills.” We soon found ourselves on the top of a ridge on the outskirts of Sioux City where we were able to enjoy a beautiful view of what was to come, “rolling hills” as far as our eyes could see.

Eastward we ran, climbing many hills as we traversed Old Highway 20, passing Lawton and merging with Highway 20, passing by Moville as we completed our 20th mile. At that point we felt good, but things fell apart quickly as we returned to Old Highway 20. It was getting warmer by the minute and the wind had picked up. If not for the Little Sioux River valley, the hills might have gotten the best of us. The miles went by slowly. We passed through Correctionville, but things weren’t so correct.

We stopped frequently as the hills returned, nearly unable to summit the last hill before we entered Cushing and coasted into the next county, spending 5:58:33 to slay a 40.7-mile giant.

It is easy to talk the talk. It is not too difficult to walk the walk. However, it is not easy to run the run.

Keeping on track to meet your goals is difficult and can be down right miserable at times. Believe us, we know. Despite this, we all need to practice what we preach. It is too easy to say one thing and to do another. Actions speak louder than words.

The journey will not be easy and the path may look too difficult to travel. We encourage you to travel down that elusive path. Tell yourself things will look better and won’t be nearly as difficult when you get there. If that is the case, great. If things were just as challenging as you had feared they might be, at least you’re there, where you wanted to go.

Start taking steps toward your goals, no matter how difficult they may seem. It is time for each of us to walk our talk. We did, and despite all the pain, it felt good. Really good.

Inspiration through perspiration. Become active or make a donation to Team 99 Counties or the American Heart Association to help fight heart disease.

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