I’m Tammy Nickerson, 50 years old, from Granville, Ohio. In May 2010, I became ill while doing a half marathon and I’ve spent the past two years in and out of hospitals and doctors offices. In 2005, I began entering triathlons as a way to lose weight and get fit, and endurance sports became a passion. I needed to find something meaningful that would allow me to go out and pursue my passion at a lower effort level. This is how Walk Across Ohio was conceived.
Last year, ultra runner Dean Karnazes passed through Granville while running across America. His journey inspired me to do something on an exciting level, and I became fascinated with the number of people who actually walk or run coast to coast. Spending months going across the country wasn’t a viable option for me, but a couple of weeks walking across the state, was certainly within my capabilities. Last winter, I became online friends with Teri Swezey, who started her journey across the country in April 2012. Teri is a 57 year-old woman who has wanted to walk across the country since she was young. She found a cause to excite her passion, SOAR Feat 2012, and pursued her dream. She made me realize that you don’t need to be a young, ultra fit athlete to embark on a long mileage trek.
On the day I first heard about Teri’s journey, I went out for a walk and started thinking about how I could reengage myself in a sport I love, but keep the effort low enough that my body wouldn’t shut down. I’d spent too much time in the house worrying about my health the past two years and I needed something to take me out of the “sick” mind frame and back into a “healthy and active” state. A walk across Ohio seemed like the perfect idea.
A 200 mile journey seemed entirely viable but at the same time, intimidating. A coach once taught me that if your goals don’t scare you, then you aren’t aiming high enough. One of the things I love most about endurance is taking a seemingly impossible goal, breaking it down into manageable segments, and then finding a way to make it happen.