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    Hamilton native running across the country to connect

    Ashley Donovan from Hamilton partnered with her friend Adam Meyer to run across the country as part of Run 2 Connect, a nonprofit organization the two founded to engage communities and individuals. Courtesy Photo/Melissa Hope
    On Monday, Ashley Donovan and Adam Meyer embarked on a 3,000-mile journey by foot, starting in Portland, Oregon, with plans to close out the voyage in Washington D.C.

    The goal for the Hamilton-native Donovan and Meyer is to run nearly a marathon a day for Run 2 Connect, a nonprofit organization the two founded to engage communities and individuals, one step at a time.

    “This will be much more of a mental challenge,” Donovan said.

    To prepare for the adventure, Donovan ran around 60 to 70 miles a week, training the body to recover quicker and learning how the body responds to constant pounding.

    Meyer ran throughout high school and at the collegiate level for the University of Oregon. He said he has always had a desire to run across the country.

    Their trans-American trek will feed Donovan and Meyer's curiosity about how education systems and local governments function in different places across the nation. Meyer is interested in finding examples of good governance, while Donovan is interested in local education issues.

    Currently working to finish her PhD in chemistry, Donovan hopes during the run to collect educational data and look at school performance metrics, as well as unique local and national perspectives on education.

    Meyer has always had an intense interest in working with local citizens to improve communities, a desire that came from his parents, who were both community planners.

    On their journey, the two plan to stay at local churches and firehouses and with others who play a community role. They have also reached out to running groups across the country and hope that community leaders will reach out to them along the run.

    Planning four months and 3,000 miles in advance can be daunting, so Donovan and Meyer said they'll be going with the flow.

    “My goal is that these simple but effective solutions will encourage community leaders to adopt measures that have a low energy and cost to high quality of life ratio and strengthen our communities faith in their government and its effectiveness,” Meyer said.

    Ashley Donovan and Adam Meyer embarked on a 3,000-mile journey by foot Monday, starting in Portland, Oregon, and planning to close out the voyage in Washington D.C. Courtesy Photo
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    Loudoun Business Journal - Summer 2014

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