MONROE, NC (WBTV) - Tim McBride runs. Every day. Today was his 1,251 day in a row.
Do the math: That's over three years of running.
"Cancer patients can't take days off, so neither can I," McBride told WBTV.
McBride runs in marathons across the country to raise money for cancer research and awareness. You might have seen him at local races. His crazy, colorful beard is hard to miss.
McBride, who works at Monroe Middle School as a data manager, has been growing his facial hair for two years. It has become part of his race-day uniform. McBride decorates it to reflect whatever cause he is supporting.
His beard has been pink for breast cancer, purple for leukemia, red, white, and blue for the Marine Corps Marathon and light blue for the Tar Heel Ten Miler.
Even with dozens of looks, McBride said it is not hard to remember how it all got started – back in 2011 with bad news from a family member.
"My brother-in-law had told us one night that he had just been diagnosed with lymphoma," McBride said.
The next day, McBride saw a billboard promoting Team In Training, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's endurance sports training program. He knew he had to get involved.
"It was kind of like a message from God to me, 'Hey, you need to check that out,'" McBride said.
McBride went online and saw that the next marathon was over 4,000 miles away from his home in Monroe. He registered anyway.
"I signed up to run the Mayor's Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska," he laughed. "And that was without a beard. Just a moustache."
Since then, McBride has completed seven marathons across the country. This year he plans to run two more.
"Sometimes the people's reaction to the beard, you know, now that I've started decorating it and stuff, that's more fun than the races," McBride said.
One reaction, he said, stands out. McBride was having dinner after a race in Raleigh. His beard was dyed bright purple for leukemia. A mother of a leukemia patient noticed him. She approached.
"You run for Team In Training, don't you?" she asked.
He said he did.
"Well my daughter is alive because of crazy people like you that go out there and raise money," she responded.
That, McBride says, is what it's about.
"I keep thinking that one of those dollars that I raise is going to be the one that finds the cure," McBride said.