(08/20/12) - In just about five days, thousands of runners and walkers will take part in the 36th Annual Crim Festival of Races.
Most people who run or walk have a specific reason for doing so. Some like the exercise, others are maintaining family traditions.
This year, one group will be walking for a very special reason.
It's morning in Flint and conditions are perfect for a quick walk, with a weighted rucksack.
"This is the heavy one, probably about 55, 60 pounds," said Melanie Schott.
"This is the basis for all military exercise, is this. The more gear you can carry from for a longer period of time, the better chance you have of living," said Jeremy Bowers.
Patrick Patterson, Melanie Schott and Jeremy Bowers are members of the 'Trans Terra Group'.
"I just like helping, especially people that helped me. If I can't get in the Army, just some way I can help, right? Just doing this to help the wounded," Patterson said.
This grassroots group has been practicing for its walking debut at this year's Crim Festival of Races.
"The tough part is getting going. Once you start, you set the pace, you don't really think about the weight. Just walk. One foot, the other foot," Schott said.
Each step they take brings them closer to reaching their real goal of helping the 'Wounded Warrior Project'.
The mission is very meaningful for former Bowers, a former Army combat medic.
"For instance, one of my guys got wounded, got put in the Wounded Warrior program. And they basically paid for his whole family, they flew them out from California to San Antonio, to the hospital there," Bowers said.
And while you might think the 10-miler along the bricks in Flint is a challenge, it's really just a warm up.
"We're actually working our way up to an 11,000 mile walk from the Artic Circle to the Antarctic Circle," Bowers said.
They would like to make that trek next year.
Along the way, they'd share their journey on the Internet, all the while raising money and awareness for our injured servicemen and women.
That journey begins with baby steps - in Flint.
"The Crim, we want to get our name out there, let people know what we're doing," Schott said. "Have them visit our website, see our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter. Just get the word out, so we can get more people to sponsor us, get more people involved."
For more information about the Trans Terra Group, click HERE.
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