OCEAN CITY – Landon Cooper plans to cross the finish line in Ocean City this summer after running 3,000 miles to raise money for Sarcoma Cancer research.
Cooper, 33, is the founder of Miles 2 Give and is from Birmingham, Ala. but is currently training in Orem, Utah. He will begin his adventure on Feb. 14, 2013 at the Golden Gate Bridge and run 150 days straight, averaging about 21 miles a day, to reach the White House in Washington D.C. on July 4.
Once Cooper reaches Washington D.C., a one-week “Live 2 Give 137 Mile Fun Run” will be organized from there to Ocean City.
For the past 20 years, Cooper has taken every opportunity that has been presented to him, sending him to live in every corner of the country, every time zone, below the equator, over the Pacific and over the Atlantic.
“It has just been a very ferocious approach to fulfill all these wild and crazy dreams,” he said last Friday. “Basically all of the opportunities I have ever created were literally taken. That is a key word with everything … for so long I had taken opportunities and came to a point where it is all about creating opportunities.”
On Nov. 28, 2009, Cooper’s good friend, Ashley Davis, was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma Cancer. Through many promising ups and downs, she eventually lost her battle and died on April 6, 2011 at the age of 23.
“She was just so spirited, so vivacious, so alive, and just had that aura about her that the world was going to change wherever she was,” Cooper said.
Following her death, Cooper began to run races in her honor around the country from California to New York.
“It has really bridged the relationship between me and her family, and they have tried to do a little bit more research and awareness campaigns to really let other communities know what this cancer is, why it had to take their daughter, and what more there is to do about it,” he said. “So it really just kept dawning on me that my running and my love for inspiring people kind of combined with a greater purpose, Miles 2 Give.”
Early this past fall, Cooper moved from Florida to Los Angeles, Calif. to fully commit himself to Miles 2 Give. For many years, he had worked in the bar and restaurant night club scene where it is a constant party.
“This passion project was something that I fully wanted to commit to in every way possible,” he said. “So, in the city of lost angels I got sober.”
Next Cooper decided to continue his journey to accomplish another dream, get to know distant family in Orem, Utah.
“I packed up ship, quit my corporate job, gathered my sober thoughts, called Ashley’s mom and let her know this is my greater purpose, and then came to Orem … I have been up here training, gathering my team, gathering the plan, planting the root, strengthening myself and my body, strengthening my spirituality on many levels to get ready for the dark days as much as the light days.”
Cooper refers to his upcoming run as “a pursuit to give and inspire.” He explained that everything comes in waves, and the biggest wave people endure nowadays is either making time or making excuses.
“It is such an oxymoron to ride that wave because the ultimate wave is always make time for your dreams, to inspire others and to live for others, and through that comes life,” he said.
Cooper looks at his run as having no clock in or clock out time, relating it to the struggle cancer patients and their loved ones take on during their battle and after.
“There is no clock-in and no clock-out when it comes to finding a cure for any cancer, so there should be no mentality or approach when it comes to this run,” he said. “People who are going through this cancer or who have lost brothers and sisters and family members to cancer, you can’t clock-in and out from that emotion. So I wanted my tour to be slightly relative to the many dark days that many patients go through.”
With that in mind Cooper will be dedicating each day of his run to a person who has lost their life to or is battling Sarcoma Cancer. Names will be announced on the Miles 2 Give website and through different media outlets.
Cooper’s 3,000-mile run across the U.S. will be the first adventure for Miles 2 Give but not the last. The overall long term vision is to take on a different country each year to support the worldwide epidemic of Sarcoma Cancer.
As The Dispatch was speaking with Cooper, he was looking at 10,000 feet of elevation of snowcapped mountains. He has surrounded himself with brutal surroundings to prepare for the incline, decline, air quality and weather conditions of his upcoming tour.
The Miles 2 Give Team that will come on tour will be traveling in a donated and/or sponsored RV from location to location meeting Cooper every seven to 10 miles for a rest stop.
Aside from operating costs, Miles 2 Give has set a goal to raise a minimum of $100,000 for Sarcoma Cancer research. The team is developing an affiliation with Sarcoma Foundation of America.
“They are very excited with this journey we are about to take,” Cooper said.
Registration for the final run from Washington D.C. to Ocean City is planned to open in the beginning of 2013. Donations by each runner will be greatly appreciated.
“The idea is for all the fans, friends and family and hopefully cancer survivors can be part of the last part of this tour,” Cooper said. “I would really like to see quite a sea of people beside me and behind me.”
For more information or to support the cause visit Miles 2 Give website, www.miles2give.org, where donations can currently be made to the tours operating cost, or visit them on Facebook or Twitter.
Donations for Sarcoma Cancer research will begin to be accepted on the first day of the run, Feb, 14, via the website, check by mail and also on sight to staff at a current location.
There has been no celebration plans made for the finish line in Ocean City at this time. Cooper asked for interested parties to call or email him or his team.
“I have never been to Ocean City, it will be my first time … let’s put it all together to really celebrate in the beautiful state of Maryland with the beautiful people of Maryland,” Cooper said.