I first heard about Joe Fairchild, an alumnus of the University of Michigan – Theta Gamma Chapter, from another brother on Twitter and felt compelled by his story to share it with others. Joe's running across America to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis and was nice enough to answer a few questions for us.

Q: Joe, tell me a little more about what you're doing.

A: Well, I'm running about 3,400 miles from Boston to Los Angeles to raise money and awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. So far I've made it over 900 miles and have raised over $2,500. I push all my stuff in a modified baby stroller and stay in hotels or people's houses along the way. Followers can
read my blog entries, view pictures and maps of my path, and donate to MS on my website, www.runsomemore.com.

Q: Why run 3,400 miles? Why not participate in a marathon?

A:Well, back in June, my brother and I were on the phone discussing training plans and goals for a fall marathon when he out of the blue mentioned running across the country. I had never though about doing something like that before, but after he planted that seed I couldn't stop thinking about
it. For me, everything lined up almost perfectly in an odd sort of way: I was soon to be out of a job, my lease was up in August, I was out of shape, and I had no idea what I wanted to do next
with my life. I was considering business school (and scored in the 98th percentile on my GMAT), but I wasn't sure that's what I wanted. I was at a crossroads where I knew I wanted something more out of my life, but I wasn't exactly sure yet what it was. A run across the country seemed the perfect solution to address all of those concerns.

Q: Besides raising money for MS, is there another message you are trying to send with this run?

A: I don't have a particular message I'm trying to send, but I've had so many people respond in different ways about how what I'm doing has affected them. Some find extra motivation for a race they are training for, others say they are experiencing the journey vicariously through me. For me personally I think it's a way to break from a mold. I think a lot of people out there are quick to categorize an engineer as a pretty one dimensional tech-savvy, smart, boring, anti-social, problem fixer. Maybe many are but some, especially Theta Taus, have a much broader range of personalities, interests, and talents that don't fit into the typical ‘engineer' bin. Now when people ask me what I do, I can say I'm running across the country. Most people don't have a bin for that!

Q: I imagine it gets pretty boring and lonely out there on the open road – what keeps you going?

A: It helps knowing my friends, family, and even people I haven't even met are cheering me on. I've also met people along the way that have shared touching stories about people in their lives with MS. And once at an Arby's in upstate New York the cashier gave me my meal for free and said, "We don't charge heroes here." Walking along the side of the road pushing a stroller isn't really all that difficult, and I certainly don't feel like a hero, but comments like that make me feel like I'm doing something bigger than just myself, and that feels good. And if all else fails, I just put some up-tempo rock on the iPod and push through it.

Q: What are you going to do after you finish?

A: I still have no idea. People ask me that a lot and don't have much of an answer even after 900 miles. But I'm not too worried about it, I just try to keep my mind open and available to accept any possible seed of an idea that may come within the next 2,500 miles. Or maybe I'll just turn around and keep running!



Follow Joe's progress across America on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RunSomeMore