4Another running down a cancer cure from coast to coast; stopping in Eagle | VailDaily.com

4Another running down a cancer cure from coast to coast; stopping in Eagle

John McKay and Everett Smith are running from Virginia Beach to the Santa Monica Pier and haven't had a day off since Des Moines, Iowa, so what did they do when they hit Fairplay?

They went trail running.

You gotta support people like that.

McKay, 46, is a former Eagle County school teacher who's making his second cross-country trip to lend his hands and feet to the fight against cancer.

Running 4Another

The last time we met, McKay had run from San Francisco to Ocean City, Maryland, following his mother's 2012 death to brain cancer. He made his run in 2013 and spent much of 2014 setting up the 4Another Foundation.

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He's spending 2015 running back across the country, from Virginia Beach to Santa Monica. They started Saturday, June 20, and are scheduled to dip their toes in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Each morning, they dedicate that day's run to someone fighting childhood cancer.

So when McKay says he's trying to run down a cure for cancer, he means exactly what he says.

"It's been everything I hoped for, and more," McKay said.

They ran through Summit County over the weekend, (they climbed Quandary Peak at 6 a.m. Sunday), into Vail on Monday and then head west today to Eagle and Gypsum, where they host the All Star Mountain Jam, a benefit for the fight against childhood cancer.

"We run 20 miles a day and whatever happens, happens. The 'whatever' part is what is so amazing," McKay said. "People are setting things up all along the way. Tuesday's event in Eagle is going to be huge."

One stride at a time

After they leave Gypsum and Eagle, they will run from Glenwood to Rifle and then turn north.

They covered 200 miles in four days, from Nebraska to Colorado's Front Range, where they stopped in Broomfield for an event hosted by four organizations.

One young cancer survivor in Broomfield is turning out to be quite a motivational speaker.

"We happened to be his 100th speech," McKay said.

On their bus, they haul about $20,000 of donated stuff to give away, including 120 donated baby dolls.

"They look crazy, like they're trapped under there," McKay said.

Pittsburgh was entertaining because they chose to stick to narrow side streets. The run up Kenosha Pass was brutal. Downtown Denver was a whole different set of challenges.

Transmission's mission

It hasn't all been smooth sailing.

They've had to drop their bus' transmission twice.

"I had dropped zero transmissions in my life. I've now done two," McKay said.

Just days after they bought the bus, 4 miles from the Virginia/West Virginia border, the transmission failed, oozing fluid all over the road. They called the dealer, who McKay said acted like they'd never heard of them.

With some help, they got it back on the road and kept heading west.

The second time, near Chicago, a farmer pulled them into his pole barn. His son turned out to be a diesel mechanic, so the transmission was out in no time. McKay said Aamco gave them a "screaming deal" on a rebuild job, and they've been rolling smoothly ever since.

"It's one of those trips that when something is supposed to happen, it happens," McKay said.

All Star Mountain Jam

For Tuesday's All Star Mountain Jam, promoter Greg Bloom has commitments from a dozen and a half top local musicians.

"I couldn't be more energized and honored than I am producing this event for John, 4Another and helping to raise funds and awareness for children's cancer," Bloom said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

If You Go

What: All Star Mountain Jam, a benefit.

When: 4-9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Where: Moe’s Original Barbecue, 630 Grand Ave., Eagle.

Tickets: Admission is free, but it’s a benefit to help the fight against childhood cancer, so pony up anyway.

More information: Former Eagle County school teacher John McKay’s 4Another Foundation is hosting it. Go to http://www.4another.net to learn more.

Coast to Coast cancer battle

4Another is composed of John McKay and Everett Smith. McKay is a former Eagle County school teacher. They left Virginia Beach on Saturday, June 20, and they’ll run more than 3,200 miles in 110 days to Santa Monica, California. They’re scheduled to finish Tuesday, Oct. 13. They’ll have a biker club and some Los Angeles police escort them through some of Los Angeles. 4Another Foundation is a 501c3 non­profit foundation.

This week

Day 72-72, Aug. 29-30: Fairplay to Breckenridge to Frisco

Day 73: Aug. 31, Frisco to Vail

Day 74, Sept. 1: Vail to Eagle/Gypsum

Day 75, Sept. 2: Gypsum to Glenwood Springs

Day 76, Sept. 3: Glenwood Springs to Rifle, then north