NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Mike Karl set a goal to run a marathon in every state.
After finishing 36 in just 4 years, he hit a bit of a speed bump. The same speed bump that has put the world on pause.
“All the marathons have either been canceled or they’ve been pushed back or postponed, and so I don’t know when I’m going to get to run my next one,” said Karl.
But, instead of waiting it out, he’s switching gears.
“You know, with everything being shut down there’s no time like now to go bike across America.”
That’s right. On June 1st, Karl will embark on a 3100-mile journey from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland. He’s said all along once he finishes his 50 marathons, he wanted to try the “RAM” or “Race Across America” bike ride. It’s traditionally completed in 12 days, but this will serve as his test-ride so he’s giving himself 28 days to complete the course.
“There’s quite a few that thought it was incredible, but there’s some people that think I’m crazy.”
He’s not crazy. He’s a dad.
Mike and Laurie’s son Sean was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, months before he was set to join the University of Tennessee Men’s Tennis team. After the battle of his life, Sean passed away in November of 2014.
“He was really struggling with the pain because it was in the bones, it was a bone cancer, and my wife Laurie and I were talking about it and if there’s anything that I can do to raise money for pediatric cancer since we’re going to be doing a foundation, I don’t want to just raise it, I want to feel,” Karl had to fight off tears to continue. “It’s still five and a half years later. It’s still raw, but anyways I wanted to be able to feel him.”
So with every mile, Mike feels his son. He feels him in his bones and in his bones.
“It (running marathons) was my time with my son. So, I really don’t go into these with anything more than a lot of time with my self and with my son its my quiet time with him.”
As he embarks on his cross-country journey, he’ll carry with him the inspiration from his son and hopefully pass it on.
“We want to create something positive right now in the midst of everything going on this is a positive and hopefully people will draw inspiration from this and find something positive to look at every day through the journey,” said Laurie Karl, Sean’s mom.