Two men run marathon in all 99 Iowa counties to support heart health

Dennis Lee and Daren Schumaker have completed a marathon in all 99 Iowa counties.

If you asked Daren Schumaker what his strategy would be for climbing a mountain, he may say something along the lines of, "Don't look up."

Schumaker reached the summit of his own metaphorical mountain on Saturday, Apr. 15, as he and long-time running partner Dennis Lee completed a journey starting nearly a decade ago.

Schumaker and Lee ran 26.2 miles in Delaware County -- beginning near Masonville and finishing in Dyersville -- to finish their marathon mission spanning the entire Hawkeye State.

From Adair to Wright, the pair has now completed a marathon in all 99 Iowa counties.

"We've driven over 20,000 miles," said Lee, admitting the runners didn't consider the logistics before taking on the challenge. "We've invested over 425 hours of running. We've run 2,734 miles so far."

The reason for running began innocently enough, with boredom fueling the decision.

The two were tired of running around Cedar Rapids, so they decided to run a marathon in Benton County, their first in a more-than-seven-year saga.

"At first, it was about us," said Schumaker. "As we went on, we wanted it to be about something bigger."

Schumaker and Lee partnered with the American Heart Association, creating Team 99 Counties.

"We wanted to raise $250 per county," said Schumaker of the team's fundraising goal, "which would get us to about $25,000 through this whole process. Clearly, we are better runners than fundraisers.'

As of Saturday, Team 99 Counties has raised nearly $11,000, promoting an active lifestyle and heart-healthy living.

"If two crazy bums can do something like this (run 99 marathons), we think that anybody can get up and take an active role in their health," said Schumaker.

Lee said the pair plans to run a 100th marathon in a county that will be determined by donations.

"The county that has the most money pledged to it, we're going to run that one again," said Lee.

As of Saturday, Linn County is leading with $1,430, and more than 60 counties have yet to donate.

Click here to donate to the American Heart Association through Team 99 Counties.

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