Running Cross Country For A Cause

By Gabe Osterhout

July 22, 2010 Updated Jan 30, 2008 at 7:19 PM EDT

An Endicott man hits the road for a 4 month, cross country journey.

But he won't be driving, he'll be running.

Meet Andy Wahila.

23 year old Andy Wahila of Endicott has been running competitively for the past 12 years.

He says he enjoys the sport, because of the freedom it gives him.

"You go out, do your own thing. I get the athletic benefits as well as just having time on my own to think about things, clears my head most of the time," says Wahila.

Wahila and two friends have been planning their cross country run for about 3 and a half years.

His parents didn't think he was serious at first.

But stands by his decision to go.

"When he first told me, I thought he was joking. The more he talked about it, he sounded very serious and so he said it was his dream so we had to go along with him and support him," says mother, Lisa Wahila.

Wahila and two friends will start their journey Friday in Savannah, Georgia.

They'll run about 25 miles per day.

The goal is to make it to San Diego, California by June 1st.

Wahila says this journey started as a cross country run.

But he changed his focus.

He's now running in honor of his cousin, Army Private First Class Philip Diaferio.

Diaferio was killed in a car accident last November.

"We're actually raising money in his name and his scholarship. Any money donated to us will go directly to the PFC Philip Diaferio Memorial Scholarship," says Wahila.

Wahila hopes to help raise money for Diaferio.

But he also hopes to see the country, and meet some interesting people along the way.

To keep track of where Wahila is, hop online to nationrun.com.

The website will be updated a few times to day.

You can also donate to the Diaferio Memorial Scholarship on the website.

The scholarship will be given to a senior at Union-Endicott High School once a year.

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