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"I knew I was up to the challenge," VanDyke said.
Woman runs from Steamboat to Wray
Brush High School Cross Country runners celebrate with MS Run The US runner Amy VanDyke, center, after accompanying her June 2 on part of her marathon from near Wiggins to near Brush as part of MS Run The US, a relay across the United States to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. (Amy VanDyke / Courtesy photo)
The connection was strong enough that when VanDyke found out Zacc Winn would be running in the State High School Cross Country meet, she made the trip out to Colorado last November to cheer him on and stayed with the Winn family.
She knew that she wanted to continue with that segment, having made friends along the way and established relationships in northeast Colorado.
That also led to a strong Jimmy Choo Trainers Selfridges connection between the MS Run The US runner and the entire Winn family.
With the distance to Wray listed on this sign just past Brush, Amy VanDyke can see the end in sight on June 2 for her string of marathons for MS Run The US that started in Steamboat Springs. (Amy VanDyke / Courtesy photo)
By the time she reached Fort Morgan on June 2, her fundraising totals were "pretty much there."
But she was still raising money wherever she could along the way.
"I knew that I wanted to do more this year, more fundraising," VanDyke said during an interview in Fort Morgan only a few days and marathons away from finishing her two segments.
VanDyke also connected last year with the Brush High School Cross Country team, including runner Zacc Winn, as the team accompanied her on part of her run through northeast Colorado.
inspiring them, too," she said.
Brush High School student Zacc Winn runs along with MS Run The US runner Amy VanDyke June 1 on the leg of the big trek across the country from about Keenesburg to just past Wiggins. (Amy VanDyke / Courtesy photo)
"I met (Wade Whitfield) alongside the road on (Highway) 52 last year," VanDyke said. "That's a perfect example of how cool this is. I told him what I was doing, and he thought it was a great cause. We stayed in touch on Facebook, and I was invited to their wedding reception. It was just the best timing. He considers me family now."
The Wild Animal Sanctuary near Keensburg hosted a party and fundraiser for her that raised close to $500, and then she was able to raise another $200 at a wedding Pale Pink Jimmy Choo Shoes
She said those types of things are "what makes the whole experience so rewarding" for her getting to meet people and raise awareness at the same time.
That challenge was raising $20,000 beforehand.
reception for a friend she met along the route in 2013.
Brush High School cross country runners accompany MS Run The US relay runner Amy VanDyke on Highway 34 June 2 during her northeast Colorado segment from near Wiggins to near Brush. (Amy VanDyke / Courtesy photo)
day that I was out there, I felt better and stronger," VanDyke said of what she felt like after completing her runs last year. "When I go to Wray, I wanted to keep going."
She talked with the relay's founder, Ashley Kumlien, about that desire to take on more, and Kumlien offered her the lengthy, challenging segment through the Rocky Mountains from Steamboat Springs to Hudson.
Right away, she started making plans to do the run again in 2014.
But this year she got a bit more ambitious.
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Brush high School Student Zacc Winn and MS Run The US relay runner Amy VanDyke celebrate June 1 after completing the marathon between Hudson and Wiggins. (Amy VanDyke / Courtesy photo)
In 2013, she ran the 146 mile segment from Hudson to Wray, having raised more than $10,000 from sponsors for the run.
"Initially, the fundraising is what holds you back," she said. "I don't want to put something out there, and then not do it."
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Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Burl Giffin drove alongside the Brush cross country runners and MS Run The US relay runner Amy VanDyke, second from left, during VanDyke's June 2 marathon from near Wiggins to near Brush. Last year, Giffin was one of the accompanying runners, but this year he had to work, so he patrolled Highway 34 as VanDyke ran on it. (Amy VanDyke / Courtesy photo)
Each runner on the relay is responsible for raising at least $10,000 from sponsors and fundraisers. With taking on two segments, that number was double for VanDyke.
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