Seattle to Key Largo the Hard Way | NBC 6 South Florida

Seattle to Key Largo the Hard Way

Man runs across the nation for a cause, 40 miles a day for 100 days

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Friday, Nov. 5, 2010)

    Imagine running a marathon. Now consider running much more than marathon distance every day for 100 days. Sounds insane, right?

    Well, on his 98th day of pounding the pavement, Steve Knowlton is still running across the country, 40 miles a day, driven by sore feet and a cause.

    "I'm hoping to raise over $100,000," Knowlton told NBC Miami as he ran down US-1 in Fort Lauderdale, pushing a jogger's stroller packed with his supplies.

    His first goal is Key Largo by Saturday. The larger prize is curing Crohn's Disease.

    "It's a tough disease and it ruins a lot of lives and it kills people," Knowlton says.

    He's been running away from the debilitating ailment since he was diagnosed with Crohn's at age 17. Knowlton has already run dozens of marathons. Last year, he started planning this idea: a cross-country jog, from Seattle to South Florida. His website, www.Knowltesrun.com, records his progress and seeks donations. Just yesterday, strangers donated a new pair of running shoes to replace the badly worn-out pair he had been using since Missouri. I asked Knowlton how he's holding up.

    "Oh, it's been rough, mentally, " the 45-year-old from Minnesota said. "A challenge to get going every day, but knowing that I'm so close to the finish line, it's pretty good."

    He's not just raising money for and awareness about Crohn's, Knowlton is also sending a message to anyone who has it.

    "I hope so, I hope people are inspired that life isn't over as soon as you get the disease, I've learned to live my life as if I don't have it," Knowlton says.

    Running since July 30th, Knowlton has lost 25 pounds, but he's gained an incredible sense of this country, marveling at the views from the Rocky Mountains and inspired by the kindness of people along the way. Knowlton started his odyssey intimidated by the immense challenge in front of him.

    "Somehow God gave me the strength to overcome it and each day I got stronger," Knowlton says.

    Asked if he felt like Forrest Gump, Knowlton said yes, minus the crowd that followed Forrest in the movie.

    Run, Steve, run. You're almost at the finish line.

    "It's exhilarating, I'm not gonna know what to do with myself when I get done," Knowlton said.

    How about a little jog?