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Running in Wisconsin for a cause
Photo submitted The Darlington cross country team ran from Lake Michigan in Racine to just 20 miles away from Monroe before thunderstorms shortened their path back to Monroe in a run for the Lafayette County Relay for Life, dedicated to Vicki Edwards, who is battling brain cancer.
MONROE - With their shoes off and one foot on a rock in Lake Michigan, Darlington cross country team members started their run across Wisconsin on Friday in honor of Ed Edwards and his wife, Vicki, who is battling brain cancer.

The Darlington cross country team started its run across the state between Kenosha and Racine along the banks of Lake Michigan. Ed Edwards, a history and social studies teacher at Darlington, was informed that his wife, Vicki, had brain cancer July 28, 2008. This is the seventh year Darlington has ran the 106-mile event to raise money for the Lafayette County Relay for Life.

"We have always had a reason to run for cancer," said Lucas Bergeson, a senior-to-be at Darlington. "It gives us a little more motivation. I'm just glad we can give something back to him and his family."

Each runner runs a half mile at a time and Darlington has six vans to shuttle runners. The runners ran into lightning in Burlington and a heavy rain in Beloit on Friday before finishing 20 miles from Monroe as a thunderstorm was rolling in and the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Brodhead, Monroe and Albany. The runners drove back to Darlington and will run 62 miles from Monroe to the Mississippi River in East Dubuque today. The Lafayette County Relay for Life then kicks off Saturday and runs into Sunday.

"This is the first year that we have dedicated the run to someone," Kent Miehe said. "It gives us a little more purpose this year. We dedicated it because Mr. Edwards is such a cool guy and it makes it more worthwhile."

McKenzie Pickett, a junior at Darlington had Edwards as a history teacher her freshman year. Pickett credits Edwards for helping her with the adjustment from junior high to high school. She said the Edwards family has always been supportive of basketball and cross country endeavors.

"It was always good to run for cancer, but since we are running for Vicki Edwards it gives it more meaning," Pickett said. "It's our chance to give back to them for once."

Amy Jorgenson, a sophomore at Darlington, said the most important aspect of the event is letting the Edwards family know the cross country team is in their corner.

"We are here for them," Jorgenson said. "It makes it personal for us and them."

Darlington cross country coach Arnie Miehe said the average the team has raised in previous runs across the state is $1,800.

Miehe started the run across the state in connection with raising money for the Lafayette County Relay for Life seven years ago. A run across Lafyette County was considered.

Darlington plans to leave early today for East Dubuque and then get back for the Relay for Life.

"That's not quite as challenging," Miehe said. "I thought, how about a run across the state? We wanted to make an impression on our runners of how fortunate they are to be able to run. People who have cancer would love to be able to go out for a run."