The “Stink Mobile” never stops. Barring any unexpected detours, it will have trekked 3,300 miles when it welcomes hundreds of runners Sunday night finishing One Run For Boston — a cross-country relay to raise money for Boston Marathon bombing victims. Event co-founders Kate Treleaven and Danny Bent, friends from England, are taking turns sleeping in their donated 2013 grey Ford Escape, a logistical support vehicle that doubles as a motel.
One Run began in Los Angeles on June 7 and will end on June 30 at Boston Common, a few steps from the Boston Marathon Finish Line. Taking a scenic backroads tour of America, the route meanders through 14 states and is being tracked with a GPS baton along with a 24/7 Live Photo Gallery.
The purpose is to raise money for The One Fund Boston but also to showcase acts of human kindness and generosity in the wake of the April 15 terrorism attacks. Runners also passed through tornado-ravaged parts of Oklahoma and are earmarking that state’s donations to help families who lost their homes.
“This is a much deeper experience than a road trip,” says Bent, a triathlete and author who previously bicycled from England to India to raise money for child poverty. “We’re experiencing America from the inside out. People are inviting us into their homes. Every one hour and forty minutes, we meet a new person. It’s a like a spike of adrenaline.”
Runners from around the country are flying into Boston to join the ceremonial last 8 mile leg of the journey. Strangers have been donating frequent flier miles to each other after meeting on the One Run Facebook page. Bent and Treleaven, who sometimes run alongside supporters, recently logged a 16-mile stretch to replace a Pennsylvania runner whose father had just died. Their tribute memorial run was coincidentally on the same day as the funeral.
Along with the inevitable tear-jerking moments, the One Run founders are also sharing plenty of lighthearted memories as they stumble across silly roadside attractions and truck stop oddities.
On June 16, the runners passed through Amarillo, Texas, home of Cadillac Ranch, a public sculpture garden where graffiti-covered junk cars are planted nose down into the earth. Bent and Treleaven painted “One Run For Boston” on one of the steel (yes, cars were not always made of plastic) canvases.
“Every British person dreams about driving across America and seeing all the different landscapes. You can drive across Britain in just a few hours,” says Treleaven. “But we’re not going to the usual tourist places. We actually drove straight past the Grand Canyon!”
“This trip is about meeting people we would otherwise never have a chance to meet,” she adds. “We’re getting under the skin of America and loving every moment of it.”
(For more information on donating to One Run For Boston or joining the runners in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts anytime from June 28-30, click here).
– written by Darren Garnick