Senior Nick Somera held his family close to his heart throughout the run of a lifetime from San Francisco to Baltimore.

On the foggy morning of June 17th, Nick Somera couldn’t help but think of his friends and classmates donning the ceremonial green cap and gown to walk in a Cal Poly commencement ceremony. Instead, he laced up a pair of trainers and toed the starting line at San Francisco’s Chrissy Field to take his first steps on the longest run of his life – a team run that would wind its way from the Pacific to Baltimore, Maryland, in seven weeks. Somera’s goal: to honor the memory of his grandfather while raising money and awareness for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. Follow Somera step-by-step through his journey to find out what he learned along the way.


Day 1

San Francisco, CA to The Starting Line

On my first day, I dedicated my miles to my grandpa who passed away when I was four years old. By the end of the day, my calves were burning because at one point, I had climbed 72 floors through four miles. As a team we ran 110 miles! I already love my team. Hearing stories of those impacted by cancer continues to inspire me.

Day 4

Carson City, NV – Service Day

Our team visited the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center and got to learn about the facility and also deliver chemo care bags to patients undergoing chemotherapy. It was inspiring to hear so many stories of people and how the CTRMC is able to help patients in so many different ways!

Day 8

Beatty, NV to Las Vegas, NV
136 miles

I don’t think I ever fully understood what cotton mouth was before I began this run because it gets to that point where you can no longer swallow. Have to stay hydrated!

Day 15

Tuba City, AZ to Bluff, UT
144 miles

Today I got to embrace my inner Forrest Gump and get a picture where he finished his run. I really enjoyed it. Enough said.

Day 18

Moab, UT to Telluride, CO
131 miles

It’s amazing how climate changes so much from such a little distance. The city of Telluride was really cute and had mountains that ripped into the sky. Today also marked the first day of my trip where I had to shower in a river. Needless to say, it was like taking an ice bath because of the runoff from snow. Being that it was July 4th, I wanted to show my spirit.

Day 25

Benkelmen, NE to Franklin, NE
157 miles

Over halfway!!! I ran with Emma today who was once diagnosed with cancer, but is now just over a year cancer free! Her story is so inspirational. Nebraska has some beautiful rolling hills and is so green right now! The people I have encountered here have been so sweet and willing to support us however they can.

Day 29

Topeka, KS to Kansas City, KS
63 miles

Our first “big city” since Colorado Springs. I have been looking forward to this city for some time now because we get to stay at the Children’s Mercy Park where the MLS soccer team plays. Got a sweet tour of the stadium, and you best believe that I geeked out from the structure and design of the stadium.

Day 30

Kansas City, KS – Service Day

This morning we got to visit and bring cancer patients care bags at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center at Research Medical Center. I can’t tell you how inspiring some of these individuals are and to see their positive attitudes in wonderful. Even though so many are currently going through great trials, they were still so vibrant and happy to spend some time with our team!

Day 33

Hannibal, MO to Springfield, Il
113 miles

Today’s miles were dedicated to Jamie Roberts who participated in the 4K bike across the country and had her life taken away. Her memory certainly lives on with all 4Kers and those who had the privilege of knowing her.

Day 38

Evansville, IN to Salem, IN

There was a tough day in Indiana, at least my toughest day. I just slept in a bed for the second time in the trip, but the following morning running I just felt out of it and really dragging. A lot of people felt that way. Our team was starting to really ache from little injuries. Everyone’s physical health was not at its peak, which can get to you mentally. That was probably my mental wall. This 12-mile day seemed never ending. I felt like I’m running like a snail. A lot of people hit their walls mid-way though the trip around Colorado, but mine came in Indiana. You just have to create your own energy and stay positive.

Day 41

Columbus, OH to Service Day

There was a center in Columbus, OH, we toured called The James right next to Oho State University. It’s the third largest cancer medical research center in the country. It was really cool seeing the technology and what they provide to their patients as well.

Day 45

Pittsburgh, PA to Rest Day

When we stopped in Pittsburg, we got to go to a Pirates game. I’ve always wanted to visit all the baseball stadiums because I like them from a construction standpoint. That was a new one I crossed off my list.

Day 49

Baltimore, MD to The Finish Line

We ended up running the last 18.5 miles together instead of doing a relay. Our whole team ran the whole way. We were separated by a few minutes. You can’t have 18 people running on the sidewalk at the same time. We met back up when we had two or three miles left and then we ran as a team into the finish line. In the harbor there, just as we did when we started, we dipped our feet into the ocean to make it “coast to coast.” Definitely some tears in the eyes coming through the finish line and giving some hugs. My sister was there with her husband, I had expected to see them. But I got a sweet surprise when my mom and girlfriend fly out. That was really special and meant a lot In that moment I thought I was going to want a shower more than anything, but that wasn’t it. When I crossed that finish line, I wanted a hug from my girlfriend and my family members there. Having that support along the way and through my life meant a lot to me. It was the best feeling being there with these new great friends and their families, sharing the moment with my family. I want to get more involved in the cancer community. So many patients I talked to are so hopeful, kind and happy. I just took that to heart. No matter what’s going on in my personal life, I can still find the silver linings. I can be hopeful and have faith something good will come of it. Talking to all those patients and survivors or those who knew people diagnosed, hearing those stories. I’ve wrestled with a lot of the lessons I’ve taken away, and I’m still kind of processing because I’ve learned so much.

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