WEB EXCLUSIVE: Former Marine, 71, EliptiGo's across the country - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Former Marine, 71, EliptiGo's across the country for a cause

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - For his three-month trip, Rick Hermelin packed light: two changes of clothes, a laptop computer, a sleeping bag and two GPS devices.

"The small one keeps track of where I've been," Hermelin said. "And, the big one tells me where I'm going."

If that sounds a little strange, Hermelin is used to it. He gets lots of odd looks when he tells folks he's going to run from coast to coast in 100 days. He started out 27 days ago at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in Paris Island, South Carolina.

He pulled out of the District 4 Fire House in Walker, LA at 9 a.m. Wednesday headed for Baton Rouge. He hopes to reach the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Deigo, CA by June 30.

Running cross country sounds ambitious for anyone, but for a 71-year-old former Marine and his running machine, it's a walk in the park.

"This is an elliptical bike, an EliptiGo," he explained as he stepped into the pedals of his bike-without-a-seat.

It looks like an elliptical exercise machine in any gym, except it has a chain and wheels.

"If I were doing this, just running, with the impact, I would be feeling it. Whereas, with this, nothing. No aches. No pains. No stiffness. No soreness of any kind," he said.

He said he's used to the wear-and-tear a trip like this can put on a body. In the last 25 years, Hermelin has completed 100 marathons, 100 half-marathons and 100 10-K races.

That 100 theme is what inspired this trip. He'll put more than 3,000 miles on his ElliptiGo in hopes of raising $10,000 for the Semper Fi Fund, an organization that helps defray medical costs for wounded Marines and their families.

Hermelin's trek across the country is taking him through Louisiana on US 190. He said the road's narrow shoulders can be a problem, but, "on the road, it's actually good. Cars and trucks are giving me a lot of room."

And, his ElliptiGo gets more than a few odd looks.

"They've never seen anything like it. Some of them think I'm crazy, but as they say, 'Crazy like a fox.'"

He hopes those looks will drive people to his website where they can track his journey via one of the two GPS devices strapped to his handlebars and make contributions to the Semper Fi Fund.

Hermelin pulled into the Fire District 12 Firehouse in Baton Rouge at 10:30 a.m. He traveled 20 miles in just an hour-and-a-half. He said Wednesday was a short day. If he wants to make it to San Deigo by June 30, he'll have to average about 32 miles a day. That's the equivalent of 100 back-to-back 50K races. He hopes to reach Texas by next week.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly