Lerman completes 366-mile journey and raises more than $1,400
SOUTHFIELD — From the top to the bottom, Sheldon Lerman has seen it all.
From the Upper Peninsula, to the Mackinaw Bridge, from Gaylord to Grayling and south, he was on a mission.
And with a makeshift finish line assembled by friends and family some 10 days after his journey began in Sault St. Marie, Lerman stood at the Michigan-Indiana border, mission officially complete.
“It was an awesome experience,” Lerman, a Southfield resident said of his 366-mile run through the state in an effort to raise money for Vascular Cures, a nonprofit research organization focused on developing new treatments and cures for vascular disease. “It was actually pretty uneventful, which was a good thing.”
An avid runner his entire life, Lerman’s doctors detected an aneurysm in his iliac artery in 2012. While opinions on his running schedule varied, Lerman decided to do one, final long run.
So from Sept. 11-20, he ventured from the top of the state to the bottom while raising funds for Vascular Cures.
By the time he finished, Lerman said he’d raised more than $1,400, some of which came along the way.
“I met some farmers along the way that were a bit curious why I was running in the middle of nowhere,” he explained with a laugh. “I got some strange looks but also got some donations from people once they learned what I was doing.”
Lerman said his entire path was mapped out ahead of time.
He had family members and friends assist him along the way, carrying supplies and water, and checking on his overall health.
He said he ran roughly 36 miles every day.
“Oddly enough, it was harder the first week or so than it was at the end,” Lerman said. “The pain started to ease, or my body started to adjust. The more I ran, the better I felt.”
A constant focus, he added, was the key for success.
“My entire focus was on running — just running,” Lerman said. “That really simplified things. I didn’t worry about bills or the house, or the news of the day. I just focused on running from one point to the next, getting to my support crew that was a mile or so ahead. I hate to say it was easy, but I think the way I approached it made it very simple and doable for me. I never got overwhelmed.”
Before the run, Lerman vowed this would be it for extreme challenges.
Afterward, he wasn’t so convincing.
“Going in, I thought it may be so painful that it would cure my desire to do this anymore,” he said. “But I think that seed is in my mind now about how much more I could do. Who knows? For now, I’m just going to keep quiet and enjoy what was accomplished.”