Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Christian McEvoy Ran Across America For A Great Cause

It has been well noted in news articles and statistics that in 2006 I became the 5th person in history to run ocean-to-ocean across America without a support vehicle/crew -- being completely solo, pushing all of my required gear, food and water in a stroller. However, there was another man who did a run across the USA in 2006, finishing 2 months after I did. His name is Christian McEvoy.

In 2006, Christian was a 23-year-old Connecticut high school teacher. He completed his run across America on December 16th of that year using a support vehicle and crew. While my focus was to keep a promise I had made to some elementary students, Christian's focus was to raise money to benefit cancer survivors and patients.

Christian ran from San Francisco, California to Narragansett, Rhode Island and became the 25th crew-supported journey runner to cross America on foot.

I ran 3,260 miles across America in 108 days on the road, while Christian covered 3,400 miles in 169 days. I averaged 30 miles per day while he averaged 20 miles per day. I was 18 years older than Christian when we did our separate runs across the United States and although we were both on America's roadways at the same time, we didn't actually communicate with each other.

Aside from Christian McEvoy and I, in 2006 there were six other attempts by people to walk or run across America. However, Christian and I were the only ones to successfully complete crossings that year. Today, "Dr. McEvoy" is a General Surgery Resident with the U.S. Navy.

As he was running across Iowa, Christian was quoted in a local newspaper: "A run across the United States is... a little bit of madness and a little bit of craziness." That it is, Christian. That it is!

Keep reaching for life's mileposts!

Gotta Run,

Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.
www.paulstaso.com

P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Does Donald Trump Jog/Run? Several Presidents Before Him Did!


Pictured above are five U.S. Presidents, dating back to the late 1970's. As you can see, jogging/running is a common interest between them. Some liked to try road races, such as President Jimmy Carter. However, he did have one particularly alarming incident. In 1979, President Carter collapsed while running a six-mile race, sparking fears that he had suffered a heart attack. White House physicians diagnosed heat exhaustion and declare him to be "perfectly normal." Ninety minutes later, President Carter was handing out trophies at the finish line.

According to Runner's World magazine, in 2002 President George W. Bush ran a 3-mile race in 20:29 — a time that placed him in the top 3 percent of all U.S. 5K race finishers of any age. President Bush told Runner's World magazine that one of his jobs as president was to set an example: "I have an opportunity to send the message to the American people that I'm serious about exercising — and you should be, too."

The presidential protective division tried everything to talk President Bill Clinton out of running in unsecured areas. They even went so far (no pun intended!) to have a quarter-mile, state-of-the-art track installed along the perimeter of the White House grounds. President Clinton tried it, didn't like it and requested that Secret Service come up with some running routes outside of the confines of the White House fence. The Secret Service eventually mapped out a few running routes that satisfied both their security requirements and the President's request. President Clinton jogged about three days a week.

President Barack Obama has been called one of the fittest U.S. presidents ever. He worked out 45 minutes per day, six days per week. For cardio-workouts, he ran on treadmills or an elliptical machine.

So, what about our current President, Donald Trump? If you Google running or jogging images of President Trump, you won't find any. You may see a few pictures of him jogging 400 meters with the Olympic Torch during the 2004 Olympic Torch Relay, but that's it. As a boy, President Trump captained his baseball team and played football, soccer, and wrestled. Although it appears he's not a jogger, he does continue to play golf.

In September 2016, Vice President Joe Biden said this about Donald Trump: “I’d like to jog with him. I don’t think he could keep up." That's a match-up I'd like to see!

Keep reaching for life's mileposts!

Gotta Run,

Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.
www.paulstaso.com

P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Running Store Employee Steals $250,000 in Merchandise

You've probably heard the phrase, "You can run, but you can't hide!" Well, a running store employee in Kansas couldn't run fast enough to hide from the consequences of his stealing.

Kansas newspapers have reported that a federal grand jury indicted an Olathe, Kansas man with stealing $250,000 in merchandise from a store catering to runners.

The man, who worked at the store, is charged with 10 counts of wire fraud and three counts of mail fraud. The indictment alleges the crimes occurred while the man worked for Garry Gribble’s Running Sports, which has five locations in the Kansas City area. The man that has been indicted oversaw merchandise arriving at the main store in Overland Park. He was responsible for distributing merchandise to the other locations.

The indictment alleges that he stole merchandise — mainly Garmin GPS running watches – and sold them to an individual in California who operated an online business on eBay. He then shipped the stolen merchandise to California via the U.S. Postal Service and received payment via PayPal, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. The indictment alleges he received 51 payments totaling about $275,780.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. Crime doesn't pay... and it doesn't PayPal either!

Keep reaching for life's mileposts!

Gotta Run,

Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.
www.paulstaso.com

P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Genius Idea: A Running Track on TOP of an Elementary School

A four-story elementary school in China's Zhejiang Province has built a 200-meter running track on its roof. I think this is absolutely fantastic! It meets the needs of 1,600 students for physical education. To keep the students safe there is a six-foot glass wall on the outside of the track and closest to the track is a four-foot steel rail. There are also several surveillance cameras monitoring student activity. Whoever came up with this architectural idea for areas lacking open space for a running track is a genius!


Keep reaching for life's mileposts!

Gotta Run,

Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.
www.paulstaso.com

P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I Qualify For "Senior" Discounts? Excuse Me, But I'll Pass On That!

A few years ago, when I was 49 years of age, I walked to my mailbox one day to find an AARP application. AARP? ME join the AARP?? For those of you who don't know, AARP stands for the "American Association of Retired Persons." With over 39 million U.S. members, its mission is to enhance the quality of life for all as they age. The minimum age to join is 50.

So, when I was 49 the "AARP" invitation envelopes started popping into my mailbox. However, I wasn't a retired person. In fact, I don't even have any gray hair yet! Why were they trying to get me to join? Personally, I don't know anyone who has officially retired by 50. Guess I don't rub elbows with a lot of wealthy people around the 5-decade mark who can sail off on their yacht and leave the working world behind!

I'm only 6 weeks away from turning 52 and yes... a couple of years ago I ended up joining AARP for $16/year. Why? Well, to be honest, I'm not sure why I joined. I figured it's what people my age do. I haven't used the membership at all in the two years I've been a part of AARP. Regardless, I'm one of the 39 million Americans who get coupons and "deals" for members who are in the second half of life.

A few weeks ago, my fiancé and I were at a local movie theater. Before the previews began playing, there was an announcement that seniors, age 50 and older, can get a discount to a weekday matinee at that particular theater. I couldn't believe it! Yes, I'm about to turn 52... but can I really be considered a "senior?" Sure, I have an AARP membership card in my wallet, and I apparently qualify for a theater ticket at a discount price if I were to skip work and go to a matinee in the middle of the week. But, the question lingered... does society actually consider me a senior as I approach my 52nd birthday? I had to look into this more closely.

It turns out, there are a lot of discounts available to people who are at least 50 years of age. For instance, I can buy things at Krispy Kreme for 10% off, and at Steak 'n Shake restaurants I can get 10% off every Monday and Tuesday. At C.J. Banks I can get 10% off every Wednesday, and at Dollar Rent-A-Car I can get 10% off anytime. But the savings don't stop there! I can also save 10% at Travelodge since I'm 50+ years of age, and I can get $13 off of one-day tickets at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. Since I'm an AARP member I also get an array of car rental discounts, 10% off at Michael's stores on Tuesdays, and 15% off of meals at Outback Steakhouse during Monday through Thursday.

I remember when 65+ was considered a "senior citizen" for such discounts! Now a person as young as 50 can qualify for 10% to 15% off on car rentals, clothes, food, and more. Some dictionaries define "senior citizen" as a person over the age of 65. In everyday speech, the term is now often shortened to “senior.” In legislation, the term applies to the age at which pensions, social security or medical benefits for the elderly become available. So, how in the world do I qualify for the title of "senior" and discounts of 10% to 15%? As you can probably tell, I'm still puzzled about this.

I heard that Dairy Queen used to give a 10% discount to those 50 and over, but now the age is 55 and over. Guess I'll have to wait a few more years to chill out with fellow "seniors" at the local DQ!
Final Note: I do hope that those who have read this are familiar enough with me to know that senior discounts are not something I chase after. In fact, as I approach 52 years of age I feel as young as ever... and I plan to keep that momentum going for many years to come!
Keep reaching for life's mileposts!

Gotta Run,

Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.
www.paulstaso.com

P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Never-Before-Seen Video From My 2006 Solo Run Across America

Today I'm sharing a short 15-second video from July 19, 2006 when I was running into Missoula, Montana during my solo run across America. I had run 652 miles by this point (in 3 1/2 weeks) with my 75-pound support stroller and was crossing the first intersection approaching Missoula from the west. This video has never before been shared publicly. I actually just found it on my computer's hard drive and recall well that hot summer day! Click on the video below to play it.


Here's what I wrote in my journal at the end of that particular day in July 2006:
It's not every day that you get to experience one of those moments in life that you know you'll remember forever. Today was one such day for me. I left Lolo, Montana at around 8:00 a.m. to begin running the distance to Missoula (my hometown). Although I've lived in Missoula for 23 years, I thought that Lolo was 10 miles away. However, it's only 8 miles. So, I took off too early and was approaching Missoula long before I was due to arrive at 10:00 a.m. for the "welcome" that was planned. To stall, I decided to stop and call family to talk about the feelings I was having about arriving in my hometown after 652 miles of running over the past 3½ weeks. This lasted about 20 minutes and then I was back on the road. The sun was shining and the morning was warming up quickly, eventually reaching 95 degrees in the afternoon -- long after I was done with my easy morning run. 
As I approached the edge of Missoula a local television car (KPAX TV) approached and Mr. Ian Marquand introduced himself. He began getting some footage as I ran down the road. I had no idea what was planned for my arrival in Missoula and as I reached the first street light I could see friends on the corner and a policeman on a motorcycle who would escort me into town. I stopped and greeted those who had come to encourage me and saw that there was more media there. I followed the policeman for about 3/4 of a mile, seeing friends along the roadway, and upon reaching McDonald Street I saw a wonderful sight! There were several Russell Elementary students on the corner waving signs of welcome and cheering for me. I was truly touched by their support and stopped to talk with them for a few minutes. Then, the escort took the lead and the kids ran with me down McDonald Street to Russell Elementary School where more people, signs and cheering waited for me. There were signs of encouragement along the way, including two wonderful large signs that had been prepared with pictures of me -- one at Cannon Beach, Oregon and one taken on the road Idaho. 
Once I arrived at the school I met several friends and school staff, and took some time to show the kids the details about "BOB"... my three-wheel running companion. I did a couple of television news interviews and talked with a reporter from the local newspaper. It was so nice to be able to see some of the kids that participated in the Run/Walk Across America curriculum. Today was not just about a guy who had completed 652 miles of a 3,200-mile journey. It was also about the kids that put me onto America's highways. Their effort made me lace up my running shoes, put my business on hold, and take off across this amazing country we call "The Land of the Free." I was reminded of just how "free" we are in America when a foreigner approached me several days ago and said, "Only in America could somebody do this." I am indeed fortunate to have this opportunity, and I'm not taking it for granted.
I now have a couple of days off to reflect on the amazing journey I've had so far, and what lies ahead. I will depart from Russell Elementary School in Missoula on Saturday, July 22, at 6:30 a.m. for a 32-mile day. Next Tuesday I will be in Helena, Montana (our state's capital city) and am slated to meet the Lieutenant Governor and Governor on the steps of the Capitol Building at 4:00 p.m. That will be an experience to remember! I'll make certain that "BOB" is looking his best. 
I truly want to thank each and every person who made my entry into Missoula today such a wonderful experience. I will always cherish the memory I have of the smiling, cheering faces of those children... holding up handmade signs and encouraging me. In many ways, my run is their run also. They are in my heart with each step and I hope that my effort is making a bit of an impact in their lives. 
The only thing that would have made today even better would have been for my family to be in Missoula. They are still in California. 
Wow, what a day! I'm going to sleep in my own bed tonight and am glad to be here feeling strong and ready to head into the remaining 2,548 miles of this odyssey. The current 30-mile-per-day pace has me set to arrive on Delaware's coast by mid-October. That would equate to almost 4 months of running. The heat is being persistent and Montana is due to see temperatures climb to the 100 degree mark next week. Currently, this area is in the mid-90s during the day and the fire season is truly getting underway. There are a few forest fires in Montana that are currently being fought and I'm hoping that I won't encounter too much smoke as I cross 610-mile-wide Montana over the next 2½ weeks. 
As always, thanks for checking in and please be looking for new pictures to be posted. I'll be working on those over the next couple of days during my brief time in Missoula. So long from this hometown milepost!

Keep reaching for life's mileposts!

Gotta Run,

Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.
www.paulstaso.com

P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Driving + Texting + Big Mac = Recipe For Accident!

As I was driving back to work today from the lunch hour, I was nearly side swiped by a woman in the lane next to me inside a business district where there are stop lights and crosswalks. I looked over to see her holding a McDonald's Big Mac sandwich in one hand and texting with her thumb on her iPhone with the other hand... her left hand perched on top of the steering wheel with the phone, and her right elbow propped on the steering wheel holding the half-eaten sandwich. I hit my horn, her eyes darted upward, and she moved back into her lane -- without even glancing at me.

Car crashes take over 35,000 lives annually in the United States. When it comes to 'distracted' driving, each day in the U.S. over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. Distracted driving activities include things like using a cell phone, texting, and eating. Using in-vehicle technologies (such as navigation systems) can also be sources of distraction. While any of these distractions can endanger the driver and others, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction.

There are three main types of distraction while driving:
  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
According to an AAA poll, 94% of teen drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, but 35% admitted to doing it anyway. 21% of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were distracted by their cell phones. 

I mentioned in my blog post yesterday that when I ran solo across America in 2006 I had to jump 7 times in order to avoid being hit by a car, truck or semi that came onto the shoulder of the road -- and in nearly every instance the driver was distracted. How do I know? Because, I could see them before I jumped! One was on a phone, one was eating, one was putting on makeup, one was reaching down to the floor for something... and so on. If I hadn't been alert, I would have been killed. The instance with the semi was actually one of speed. He was going around a curve too fast and went onto the shoulder, nearly flattening me. I also encountered a driver falling asleep and he was alerted by the rumble strip sound -- and of course I was where the rumble strip was.

Since 2006 there have been many more advancements in technology, including the creation of smart phones. More cars now have built-in dash screens to give an array of information. Distractions while driving have certainly increased in the past ten years, and so have the number of pedestrians being killed by inattentive drivers. When I did my run across America in 2006, the U.S. population was slightly over 298 million. Today, the population is over 324 million. That's an increase of 26 million people in the U.S. in the past ten years. Roads are busier and there are simply more distracted drivers -- accounting for an 11 percent increase in pedestrian deaths since 2006.

In closing this writing I'll give you something to think about. At 55 mph, the average text takes your eyes off the road long enough to cover a football field. Think about that!

Keep reaching for life's mileposts!

Gotta Run,

Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.
www.paulstaso.com

P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

People Are Dying To Try This... Literally!

In the past few years several people have died while trying to run across the United States. Sadly, their vision of running away from one ocean and running into another ocean -- by using only their feet for transportation -- ultimately ended their lives, leaving their heartbroken and devastated families in the wake of their sudden and tragic deaths. The most recent tragedy occurred last month when a man in his early 30's was struck down during his crossing of America when a car came onto the shoulder of the highway and killed him.

In January 2017, the New York Times printed an article about the allure of crossing the continent on foot. In part, the article states:
"The vast expanse of the United States has long been alluring to the men and women who set out on long-distance hikes from coast to coast. Many have added to the tradition of travel literature, describing in their diaries the bouts of loneliness and moments of beauty, chronicling sleeping rough and under the stars, and writing of strangers who became friends... But in the past few years, a few people who aimed to make the trip — whether for activism, adventure or escape — have died trying."
I can relate with the words about the challenge being alluring, primarily as a result of my many solo runs across the United States, Germany, Alaska, the Mojave Desert, and elsewhere. However, it's important to always stay focused while on the road and to never allow the 'allure' to dull the senses. Death is a real possibility. I had to jump 7 times to avoid being struck by vehicles during my 3,260-mile coast-to-coast run across the United States in 2006.

There are those who do their homework and training before setting out to cross the continent on foot, and then there are those who just take off on the adventure with little preparation. Currently, there are several people crossing the USA on foot, some well prepared and others experiencing the consequences of tackling the goal with little planning and preparation. Regardless of one's athletic ability, determination, courage, enthusiasm, or strength -- crossing the continent on foot can be life threatening. Those who have done their homework beforehand know that very well. Ultimately, you have to ask yourself the question: "Is this goal worth my life?"

Historically, there have been approximately 300 crossings of the United States on foot, based on the crossings that have documented information. In contrast, more than 4,000 people have scaled the summit of Mount Everest since it was first conquered in 1953. So, many more people have climbed Mount Everest than have crossed the United States on foot. The adventure of crossing America one stride at a time remains a unique and challenging endeavor. Yet, as more people attempt the challenge, it is becoming far more clear just how dangerous it can be.

Keep reaching for life's mileposts!

Gotta Run,

Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.
www.paulstaso.com

P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation Still Exists!

The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc. is a youth fitness Foundation that I launched many years ago. The Foundation's mission has been to encourage, educate, inspire, and motivate children worldwide to adopt life-long habits toward a healthy lifestyle; to expand their knowledge of the world around them; and, to pursue their goals and dreams with the abilities they possess. I've literally run thousands of miles to try and be a living example of what P.A.C.E. is all about. P.A.C.E. stands for "Promoting Active Children Everywhere."

In November 2016 I announced that I'm retired from running across states and countries. As a result, there may be those who would think that The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation no longer exists. It DOES still exist! In fact, I just filed the corporation's annual report this week with the office of the Secretary of State. The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes within the meaning of Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

So, why would I keep the Foundation operating if I am no longer running across states and countries? Wasn't my ultra-endurance adventure runs the cornerstone of the Foundation? What are the Foundation's plans for the future? How will the Foundation "encourage, educate, inspire and motivate children worldwide" without me pushing "BOB" (my support stroller) across vast amounts of land, speaking in schools, and doing media interviews? Those are all excellent questions, and ones that I'm still thinking through the answers for.

For now, all I can say is that the Foundation is still in existence. Annual reports and tax filings are occurring, and the Foundation is in "good standing" with the Secretary of State. I have no intention of allowing the Foundation to cease.

Sure, there are days when I miss pushing the edge of the envelope on a solo ultra-endurance run... and running up to a school to do an assembly... and seeing the smiles on the kids' faces. It was always the kids that kept me pushing forward. I'll never forget a March 2010 news story in the U.S. military publication, Stars and Stripes, where a 10-year-old boy at Vilseck Elementary in Germany was quoted as saying that my PACE adventures "inspired me to have a goal and take it. It gave me the inspiration to run and do my best." I think that 10-year-old boy summed up the purpose of P.A.C.E. very well. It has always been about inspiration, goal setting, and doing your best.

What is the future of P.A.C.E.? Time will tell.

Keep reaching for life's mileposts!

Gotta Run,

Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.
www.paulstaso.com

P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.