Hikers travel 30.1 miles for cystic fibrosis

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IRON COUNTY - Shortly after 1 p.m. on Saturday, Kevin Harrman made his way across the finish line after completing a 30.1 mile hike on the Ozark Trail.

For those who hiked the trail Saturday, the long trek held a special meaning. 

Harrman and 54 other hikers took part in the third annual Missouri Xtreme Hike. The hike aims to raise money and awareness for those suffering from cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis causes normally thin bodily fluids like mucus, sweat, and digestive juices to be thick and sticky. These fluids can block ducts and passage ways in the body, more specifically in the lungs and digestive system. So far there is no cure for cystic fibrosis, but treatments are available to help make a patients quality of life better. 

Prior to the hike, participants had to raise a minimum of $2,500. Four "virtual hikers" raised the minimum as well, but chose not to hike. At the time of the event, the hikers had managed to raise more than $162,000. 

Harrman said he and the other hikers had ways to keep them moving toward the finish line. 

"We were, I don't know, singing songs. Just trying not to think about hiking 30 miles. Whatever we can do not to think about our knees hurting, our ankles hurting, or our shins hurting from walking downhill or uphill," Harrman said.

Christie Derbin, Missouri Xtreme Hike Event Coordinator, said it was rewarding to see the hikers in action. 

"They enjoy the camaraderie. You know it's really neat to see how this group has become a really tight bunch. They've been training together and they've really gotten to know each other well, and so that's really rewarding to see that too," Derbin said. 

Following the race, hikers were given the opportunity to rest and fill up on food and drink. But there were some other perks waiting for them.

"They've got messages for us and a hot tub back at the lodge. So I'm ready to take advantage of that," Harrman said. 

Xtreme Hike volunteers said those interested in donating to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation still have the opportunity to make donations on the event's website