Joe Mulligan

June 27, 2016: Finished

by Joe Mulligan on June 27, 2016 Comments Off on June 27, 2016: Finished

I am sitting in a pretty little coffee shop, a few hundred feet from the Atlantic Ocean in Annapolis. A few minutes ago, Marshall Reeves finally crossed the finish line of RAAM 2016. He was close in 2012 and in 2014, but 2016 was his year to conquer the beast.

As he slowly unclipped his shoes from the bike pedals, he was greeted by whistles, applause, and countless hugs. His family was waiting to embrace him. His son, Jesse rode across the finish line with him while his daughter, Molly, and wife Madge, greeted him with hugs and tears.

Beer was immediately passed out to the crew, and Marshall had a Stella Artois in his hand with a enormous smile on his face. He popped it open, amoung cheers and congratulations ringing the air, took a big gulp, and declared he had finished, as if the beer was the final test.

With his beer still in his hand, he held up his shiny RAAM medal like a champion


And he was. He was a champion. He completed the hardest bicycle race in the world at the age of 60.

At the finish line, it was loud, but under the din was this feeling of completion. It was like a massive exhale after a nervous breathe. There was yelling and clapping and tears, but there was also understanding. There was an understanding of what had been accomplished.

Marshall was excited and waves to the crowd greeting him at the finish line.

Marshall was excited and waves to the crowd greeting him at the finish line.

I have been changed by RAAM. In these 2 weeks, I have dealt with my insecurities and fears. I have cried tears of sadness and joy. I have laughed alongside the crew and Marshall and experienced the beautiful country around me. I am a different Joe Mulligan then started RAAM.

When Marshall crossed that finish line, burdens were lifted, smiles became wider and previously glassy eyes came into focus. In the noise, I could hear my mom’s voice calling out among the fans. She was there watching, congratulating Marshall on his amazing job.

Marshall's team stands with him and celebrate the finish of the Race Across America.

Marshall’s team stands with him and celebrate the finish of the Race Across America.

After the crowd left, I had a short moment alone with Marshall. I thanked him for everything, praising him for his effort and supporting 3000 Miles to a Cure. He told me that he was glad to do it, and thanked me for being there and representing the cause.

Marshall, you are an amazing man, I hope I get to ride in a plane you’re piloting. Thank you for representing 3000 Miles to a Cure and dedicating your time and energy to serve us. I will always remember this finish with happiness in my heart, and I will always be inspired by you.

You’re done.

Joe Mulligan

read more
Joe MulliganJune 27, 2016: Finished

June 25, 2016: Almost There

by Joe Mulligan on June 27, 2016 Comments Off on June 25, 2016: Almost There

The last 24 hours of RAAM are in full effect. Fatigue is rampant through the crew and riders.

Marshall is now 200 miles from the finish. He is in territory he has never seen before. His last two attempts are fresh in his mind as he pushes to the finish.

Marshall’s cause and reasons are fighting the pain inside his head as he moves toward the finish one pedal stroke at a time. He is within hours of his official finishing time and there is some speculation as to whether he will make it.

The crew is doing everything they can to get him there, feeding, medicating, caring for all of his needs.

If he doesn’t push, he isn’t going to make it.

Please help Marshall, he did this for a cause much greater than himself. It is 3000 Miles to a Cure fighting alongside him as he conquers RAAM and seeks to conquer brain cancer. Every mile he pedals, is another small victory. Pledge just a small amount for every mile he finishes. Help get him to Annapolis and our goal of 20,000 dollars. Every dollar counts, donate BC_RAAM_2016_06_24_MorningIndiana-14today.

read more
Joe MulliganJune 25, 2016: Almost There

June 25, 2016: Chaos

by Joe Mulligan on June 25, 2016 Comments Off on June 25, 2016: Chaos

We’re 500 Miles from the finish line and everybody is exhausted. Marshall is pushing himself mile by mile to stay on the bike.

Most of his crew has circles under their eyes and a far-off stare. Everybody is talking about the finish. Is he gonna get there? What does his average speed need to be? How many miles does he have left?


He rolled into a stop at Chillicothe, Ohio a few minutes ago.  

As he was sitting in his chair, spooning chili in his mouth, Jacob and Ryan were massaging his feet and Tyler and Joseph were putting drinks in the cooler, filling up the follow car with gas, and buying more ice. Adam was checking the bikes and Jesse was talking to his dad about the last few hundred miles.


I did my best to stay out of the way while Luke and Bryan were snapping pictures and taking video of the whole scene. It was just chaos.

We are near the finish line, and everybody is ready to be there. The crews and riders are running on adrenaline and caffeine trying to get to Annapolis.

We are just trying to keep Marshall on the bike. His body and mind are telling him to stop. He is latching on to the cause and trying to separate his mind from the saddle sores and lack of sleep.


We are 500 miles from the end and we still have not reached Marshall’s donation goal. Please donate for mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, children and grandchildren, who will lose the fight to brain cancer unless we cure it first. Marshall and Rob fight every mile. 3000 Miles to a Cure needs your support. We craft videos, albums, and interviews hoping that they have an effect. Hoping that others can see the passion we have to end brain cancer and be inspired.

Just keep pedaling, Marshall

Joe Mulligan or affectionately “Glasses McWritterface”

read more
Joe MulliganJune 25, 2016: Chaos

June 23, 2016: Junior

by Joe Mulligan on June 23, 2016 Comments Off on June 23, 2016: Junior

We caught up with Marshall as he was tackling the bumpy roads of Illinois. Last night we saw him cross the Mississippi River in good spirits. He was glad to be two thirds of the way through.

Illinois is similar to Kansas in a lot of ways. Long flat roads with corn and wheat everywhere. It is more populated and the traffic is much more of a hazard. The heat and humidity is unbearable, but the tailwind assists his speed.


He stopped to cool off and the media team was able to catch up with the night’s activities. He was smiling and surprised by how good he felt. In his previous experiences, he was dealing with extensive leg pain by this point in the race. The fact that his hamstring muscles are functioning is encouraging, despite the hand numbness and saddle sores.

The media team asked him what he was going to do differently after his unsuccessful attempts. He simply said “not screw up.” 


While he got some more water from his crew, Aunt Maria read him some encouragement from donors. On one message, he was addressed as Uncle Mark. He laughed when he heard this, and I was curious as to why.

It turns out, he legally changed his name at the age of twelve to Marshall Reeves Jr. He adopted his father’s name because he respected him so much. Marshall is not a super emotional guy, so when he talks about his father, I am moved.


The relationship between fathers and sons is a special one. A father is someone who you can seek wisdom from and confide in at the same time.

After Mom died, Dad had to take upon the entire responsibility of leading the household. He had to work full time and provide emotional comfort during a hard experience. During this time, we spent more time together. Mom’s expressiveness was a big factor of my childhood, after she died, my dad and I developed a very personal friendship. We ate lots of steak together as men and discussed a plethora of subjects. I like to joke around and call us “bros,” because we really do have a great friendship. Without Mom to mediate, I got to know dad on an entirely different level. We united in our grief and our happiness. I began to realize the extent of his wisdom and gained so much knowledge from him on how to lead a family. Without my father’s guidance the experience would have been so difficult.   
Marshall and I seem to have a similar respect and love of our fathers. It freshly reminds me that some people don’t have that comfort. When a family has to deal with a terminal disease, their relationships can suffer and never heal. I can’t imagine losing my father to brain cancer. I don’t want to imagine it. I hate brain cancer. I never want to see another family suffer because of it. I don’t want to see a son suffer after he loses his father or a father suffer after he loses his son. My mother was an amazing woman.  It is time to end brain cancer. People are fighting. 3000 Miles to a Cure is supporting researchers across the country who want to see it cured as much as we do. You can provide them with funds. You can wave goodbye to brain cancer alongside 3000 Miles to a Cure. Every penny goes to research. Please donate here today.

Happy Birthday Pops (Dad), 52 is going to be a great year.

Joe Mulligan

read more
Joe MulliganJune 23, 2016: Junior

June 22, 2016: Team

by Joe Mulligan on June 22, 2016 Comments Off on June 22, 2016: Team

As Marshall races across the country, the media team meets up with the crew and Marshall as much as we can and we have gotten to continually observe the team in action.

Marshall is capable, but he is only able to attempt RAAM with a team behind him. These six men are like brothers with lots of caffeine and time spent in close proximity. In a pre-race interview Marshall talked about the impact of this team.

“The great thing about this operation is that everybody on this crew volunteered. Everyone on the crew this year, came to me wanting to do it and that to me is huge. That is even more motivation, without them even having to say a thing…”  

Adam Darby, the bike mechanic, has flowing curly blonde hair that sticks out of the side of his hats. He always has a big smile on his face and is ready to lighten the mood with a joke. When he gets a bike in his hands, he becomes a machine, adjusting and fixing so fast, you wonder if he is actually thinking about it.


Joseph Joseph III (his real name) is the crew chief. He knows Marshall well and capably leads the team. He is a professional accountant and works well with numbers, constantly analyzing distances and speeds and feeding Marshall helpful information. He and Tyler Jandreau went to Marshall and volunteered to lead a team to get him to the finish line. He is tall and thin, sporting a short beard and bright orange reflective glasses.BC_RAAM_2016_06_16-8

Ryan Jean is the all-around, jack-of-all-trades guy. He has shoulder length wavy blonde hair and a short and broad-shouldered figure. He is constantly looking for ways to help and provides a comforting presence to all he is around. He has lots of interesting stories about his adventures on the Appalachian Trail and his biking experiences.


Jacob Bouchard is a details guy. He doesn’t forget things and provides a steady anchor for the more lively of the group. He has a friendly countenance at all times, always providing interesting conversation with his many talents. I love hearing his thoughts and ideas about RAAM or anything else.


Tyler Jandreau is an engineer. His mind is always working and he tends to be a problem solver. He likes wearing flip flops and his laid back personality tends to calm people down when facing problems. He is also a jokester and likes to lighten the mood.


Jesse Reeves is Marshall’s son and provides excellent moral support for his dad as he goes through this challenge. With a great love of music and long black hair in a ponytail, he is quite interesting to talk to about anything and everything. He is always seeking to help his dad when he can, providing valuable assistance to the specialist of the team.


These men have sacrificed more than 2 weeks of time from their jobs and homes to come and support Marshall as he to conquer RAAM. They live off of little sleep and eat gas station food at unscheduled times. They often sleep in the RV or in the car when they can.

Sunscreen is constantly being applied to Marshall alongside massages and an assortment of drinks. Monitoring Marshall’s health is a responsibility all on its own. He requires pain medication and lots of medicinal creams. They are always behind him pushing him to the finish line. They readily find anything Marshall needs and serve him in any way they possibly can, putting his needs far above their own.

They are expected to perform well under high stress situations and often have to do it quickly.

I am  inspired by their diligence and perseverance. They respect Marshall and want to see him finish, just like I do.

3000 Miles to a Cure is made up of men and women who have chosen to put a cause above comfort, money, and time. Every donation, every dollar given, inspires riders, crews, and volunteers alike.  We work hard because we love those who we’ve lost and don’t want anybody else to suffer that loss. Please donate here today, so brain cancer can no longer thrive unopposed, taking people from families and friends.

Mississippi River is ahead of you, Marshall

Joe Mulligan

read more
Joe MulliganJune 22, 2016: Team

June 21, 2016: Jenny Paparella Mulligan

by Joe Mulligan on June 22, 2016 Comments Off on June 21, 2016: Jenny Paparella Mulligan

2 years ago I lost my mother.

Losing your mom is hard. In fact, it is really hard, hopefully the hardest experience I will ever have in my life.

I remember always telling people how I was doing. Out of concern, they asked me, which I did appreciate, but I never could answer them. I told them it was hard, but I was good. It was always hard, but I was never good.

In fact, I am not even “good” today. Every day I think about college or even getting married, I realize she isn’t going to be there with me. She isn’t going to sit crying in the church as I say my vows or even heartily cheer when I get my diploma. She just isn’t.

I have come to realize that I will never truly accept this. I will look out at those people on my wedding day and try to find my mom’s shining, beautiful face.

I will never be able to take my kids to see their Grandma. I will never have someone to talk to about life decisions, or how I should propose to my girlfriend.

I won’t be able to come over and eat her delicious spaghetti and meatballs.

There will always be a void. There will always be an unfilled portion of reality that I am aware of.

But in the end, it is ok. I know she is there watching, sending her love to me every day as I go through life.

I will make it to tomorrow. She would have wanted me to.

Mom, I love you and miss you



Donate here

read more
Joe MulliganJune 21, 2016: Jenny Paparella Mulligan

June 20th, 2016: Memories

by Joe Mulligan on June 20, 2016 Comments Off on June 20th, 2016: Memories

Today Marshall cycled through the long flat plains of Kansas. The roads stretch miles and miles flanked by corn or wheat, creating a quiet landscape, but still an enchanting picture.


We rode beside him for a mile or two to get some good pictures and video. He called out puns about cows as we passed and we struggled to come up with any of our own.

He was still smiling, clearly enjoying the fresh breeze and the flat roads. It was only while we passed the large ranches of cattle that his face changed in reaction to the foul scent. “It wasn’t me!” he said with a smile.BC_RAAM_2016_06_20_Kansas-7

He looked experienced as he pedaled along the gray pavement. His gaze was calm and confident, and his eyes looked straight ahead at his target when he wasn’t punning about steaks.

When we stopped, his pain was more apparent, but he was still joking alongside his young crew. Almost halfway there, saddle sores and tight quads are always a topic when we stop. However, Marshall is tough and confident in his ability to bear the pain.

He is ready to get to the finish, I can tell. Sometimes, you can see the excitement in his gaze. When he is struggling with the climbs or disheartened at the distance left to go, he adopts an almost glassy expression.

He stopped briefly to rest and apply a new layer of sunscreen. Marshall showed us an old rust-covered and well-used knife.  BC_RAAM_2016_06_20_Kansas-9

“This is my father’s knife that was given to him when he became a Navy Aviator. He passed away last June.”  

He was obviously affected as he unsheathed the knife from a well used leather sheath. He carefully examined it as he was being massaged and sunscreened. His expression was different, as he remembered his father. He was emotional, but not sad or crying. He had a new resolve, almost as if he felt his father’s gaze on him.

He mounted his bike with excitement and a new kind of energy.
We all see things that remind us of lost loved ones or past memories. When we do, old feelings are freshly awakened, and briefly we see and feel things differently. For me, it is this one cookbook, called Taste and See. It was made by a group of women from my old church. It has a bunch of delicious recipes that Mom made often. She was even the author of a few of them. When I see that I am a little saddened, but it also reminds me of good times. Times without stress. Times where brain cancer was never talked or thought about. It was just smiles , laughter, and peace.

3000 Miles to a Cure knows about this longing. Instead of people remembering those times with sadness we want people to look forward to new memories with their family. When brain cancer is cured, there will be less looking back and much more looking forward. When you make a donation, think about the memories you will make with your family in the future and remember that some people can’t look forward to that. Donate here today, for others tomorrow.

Kansas is almost behind you Marshall


read more
Joe MulliganJune 20th, 2016: Memories

June 18th, 2016: Jovial

by Joe Mulligan on June 18, 2016 Comments Off on June 18th, 2016: Jovial

Marshall rolled into Durango at close to 1 AM, After sleeping for a few hours, he conquered Wolf Creek Pass. He climbed 4000 ft in 7 miles.


The media team was there, awed by the beauty of the Rockies and the miles of switchbacks and steep grades. In a car, the beauty is what we noticed. Outside the car, however, even running half of a mile with the limited oxygen was exhausting. I watched Marshall climb for seven miles, without stopping.

We watched him pedal up the Rockies with passion in his feet and humor on his mind.

I know right! Humor? How can someone be humorous as they pedal up an actual mountain.

One of the things I like about Marshall is his love of puns. Puns are his thing. Knee-slapping, hilarious plays on words are in his ballpark, right next to ultra-cycling and piloting.

So, we came up with puns and wrote them down on sheets of paper. We would hold them up as Marshall would ride by, amusing him and sometimes disappointing him.



-Are you wheelie wheelie tired?

-Wolf Creek Pass is a vicious cycle

As you can see, they aren’t great, but they gave him something to think about other than the climb.BC_RAAM_2016_06_18_WolfCreek-6-1

When we ran out of puns, we sang. Granted, our voices weren’t great either, but what we didn’t have in skill we made up for in passion.

So we ran alongside him and sang “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” and “Eye of the Tiger.” He suggested we get some singing lessons, but the best part: he sang back.

I ran alongside him hearing him sing James Taylor as if he wasn’t even tired. He has a great voice and knows more about modern bands than I, a sixteen-year-old do.

Then he gave me some homework to do about wheel rotation and distance, which I raced to solve. For instance, I calculated that it takes him 2436 rotations to cover a mile on 27-inch wheels.

It truly amazes me. Marshall can compete in the hardest bike race in the world, support a great cause, and make me laugh all at the same time. It is about a reaction to difficulty. When you see someone take on a difficult task and retain a smile and a sense of humor, it inspires you.


It reminds me of Mom. She wasn’t gifted in puns or an ultra-cyclist, but somehow, when diagnosed with brain cancer, she walked through it with a smile on her face. She wasn’t angry, she just stayed her happy, kind, beautiful self. She cooked when she could, and still invited people over for coffee to catch up. I found myself being comforted by her, even when it was her illness that I sought comfort for.

When you donate, it is about giving hope. Every dollar goes to men and women who are trying to cure this disease. They stood up and decided that something ought to be changed. Help them give hope to thousands of people who have been diagnosed with brain cancer. Donate here.   

1000 miles behind you Marshall

Joe Mulligan

P.S. I am sure the puns will get punnier…

read more
Joe MulliganJune 18th, 2016: Jovial

June 17, 2016: Commitment

by Joe Mulligan on June 17, 2016 Comments Off on June 17, 2016: Commitment

Marshall needs to reach Durango Colorado by 6 AM Eastern Time tomorrow.  In order to do that, he must bike another 150 miles of climbs, dusty roads, and relentless traffic.


We drove through Monument Valley to catch up with Marshall’s crew and see what they thought about the trek ahead. Upon arriving, we were greeted with tired excitement.

“How was last night?” was the question on the media team’s lips as Adam’s long wavy blonde hair emerged from the door of the RV.

Marshall has kept to his schedule, perfectly. Making sure he rides at the right speed, sleeps at the right times and saves his energy for the harder, second half of RAAM.


“He slept last night when he was supposed to, about three and a half hours” Jacob exclaimed, who had just arrived in the follow vehicle.

“So he is right on schedule?” Maria asked. “Right on schedule, he knows the average speed he needs to get to Durango, and he knows the speed he has been averaging so far,” Jacob replied.

“I feel privileged that, if I want to do something then I get my mind behind it and do it… I know if I say it I will do it.” Marshall Reeves


He has strategized and executed… the question is how will it pay off in the second half?

Stay strong Marshall

Joe Mulligan

Rob and Marshall are racing to cure brain cancer. Help us by donating here. Every single penny goes to research. Thank you.

read more
Joe MulliganJune 17, 2016: Commitment

June 16, 2016: Engine

by Joe Mulligan on June 16, 2016 Comments Off on June 16, 2016: Engine

We drove parallel to Marshall. Our engine matching the speed of his legs. We all gave a collective cheer, excited by the progress he has made since we last saw him and impressed by his endurance. 

Brian’s camera snapped along with the hum of the bumpy road. “Good Morning,” he said, clearly in good spirits. “How are y’all doing?” Still keeping pace at about 15 miles per hour, his smile appeared underneath the helmet and the white sunscreen on his cheeks.


He had a calm look about him as if he was in his element. Pedaling, strong and steady, while he leaned down on his matte black handlebars. You could clearly see “3000 Miles to a Cure” written in light blue on his back, contrasting well with the mustard yellow jersey.

He is climbing up through the Coconino Forest which is breathtaking, but not an easy climb. Racing toward Flagstaff Arizona.

“Great, how are you feeling?” Maria asked. “Oh, you know, another day, another climb,” Marshall said with another big smile, his bike in an almost perfectly straight line along the side of the road.

Up ahead we saw his crew parked on the side of the road ready to assist. We sped off and parked directly behind his son Jesse, and another crew member Jacob.


Jacob began speaking into his microphone to Marshall as he came up the road. They readied his drink and held it out at arm’s length.

He zoomed past, saying “Thank you sir” to Jesse and skillfully grabbing the bottle.

We passed him a few more times over the course of the next 20 miles, taking pictures where we could and helping the crew. Each time we drove past him, he had that same look on his face. He looked free. He was not confined to a cockpit looking at things from miles above. He was simply smelling the pines and feeling the fresh Arizona air on his face.


3000 Miles to a Cure is about freedom. It is about freedom from the hopelessness of brain cancer. It is about helping the diagnosed and their families, by providing them something to do against an aggressive and relentless enemy.

Fight with us. Help the thousands of people that are hopeless in the face of brain cancer. Donate here today.

Push on Marshall

Joe Mulligan

read more
Joe MulliganJune 16, 2016: Engine