July 10, 2020
Mike Karl Bikes Across America to Raise Awareness for Cancer Research
After losing his oldest son, Sean, in 2014 to Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, Mike Karl, an avid marathon runner and Trane Commercial HVAC Systems Sales Manager, founded the Sean Karl Foundation to raise awareness and funds for Ewing Sarcoma research.
He also set a goal to run a marathon in every state, continuing his mission to expand the message around the country and boost funding.
Running in a Pandemic World
After finishing 36 races in 4 years, Mike’s journey came to an abrupt halt as the COVID-19 pandemic made its way from coast to coast, shutting offices, cancelling events and bringing normal, daily life to a halt.
“With all marathons either cancelled or postponed, I didn’t know when I would be able to run my next one,” said Karl. “That’s when the idea came to me – what better time is there to bike across America?”
Mike launched into planning mode, routed out the 3,100 mile itinerary, and began his journey June 1st in Oceanside, California.
A Cross-Country Journey
He made the winding trek through beach towns, sprawling farmlands and steep mountains, pausing in Illinois’ Shawnee National Park on June 14 to celebrate what would have been Sean’s 26th birthday.
“Running marathons has been my way to stay connected to my son. With every mile, I feel Sean in my bones,” said Mike. “It’s been five and half years since we lost him, and it’s still raw, but running continuously provides me a chance to spend that cherished time with him.”
After three weeks on the open road, Mike completed his journey on June 22 in Yorktown, Virginia – carrying his son’s inspiration with him on each passing mile.
“My wife and I want to create as much positivity as we can in the midst of everything going on right now,” said Mike. “Our hope is that people will find encouragement and resiliency from this, and find their own ways to share that with others.”
Fast Facts about Mike:
Grew up in: Utica, Michigan
Lives in: Nashville, TN
First real paycheck: Paper route with Detroit News at age 9
If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Nashville
Phone app you use the most: I try to avoid my phone, but Google if I had to pick one
Best advice you ever received: My own personal moto: persistence and never giving up!
Dream marathon/race: The New York City marathon
Last show you binge-watched: 30 for 30 on ESPN
Famous person you’d like to have dinner with?: Rafael Nadal because of his incredible persistence and never die attitude.