Thursday, June 23, 2016
10 Years Since My Solo Run Across America
Life has presented me with many twists and turns in the road over the past 10 years. Most of my children are now adults and are blazing their own paths in life. I'm so proud of them. Since I completed the coast-to-coast run I have also run solo across Montana, Alaska, Germany, and the Mojave Desert -- promoting youth health and fitness with each stride. I've spoken to thousands of school children through assemblies, was inducted as the first European PTA Youth Ambassador, and given a special award from the Mayo Clinic for my efforts in combating childhood obesity in America. Unfortunately, along the path I was on the receiving end of divorce papers. That occurred several years ago and resulted in some people distancing themselves from me. I can only hope that in time some bridges will be mended.
Just like a journey run, there are peaks and valleys on life's road. Over the past five years since I completed my last adventure run (the Mojave Desert) I've experienced more 'valleys' than 'peaks.' However, life took a positive upturn last year and I'm experiencing more peaks than valleys these days. I have a challenging yet rewarding job and for the past year I've been in a positive, fulfilling relationship with someone that I love unconditionally and who genuinely returns love the same way. I've held onto my non-profit organization, The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, even though it has been sitting dormant since the Mojave Desert run in 2011. I've encouraged a few people who have reached out to me for advice with their own transcontinental running attempts and have done presentations as time and opportunities allow.
At the age of 19 I wanted to run a marathon. I logged a lot of training miles, but was too broke to get to any marathon races. So, I jumped into my old VW Bug and drove 13.1 miles out from my college campus. I made a chalk line on the road, placed a bottle of water in the bushes, and drove back to campus. Then, I ran out to that chalk line and back again. I had completed my first "marathon." In 1986 I made my first attempt to run across America (sponsored by New Balance, Timex, Gatorade, and a company that was relatively new called "Oakley, Inc."), but I got injured early on and had to stop the run. That was 8 years before Forrest Gump ran across America on movie screens. In the past 4+ decades I've run enough miles to circle the globe a couple times. In so many ways, running has been a constant in my life... something to lean on, rely on, and something that would bring out the best in me. I guess you could say that running has been a significant factor in defining who I am.
Life is indeed a journey of twists and turns, valleys and peaks. I'm standing on the highest peak I've experienced in the past five years and the view is great. It's time to not only look to the horizon beyond the neighborhood, but to also run there. I hope you'll follow along via my writings and pictures in this blog. It's going to be quite an adventure!
Keep reaching for life's mileposts!
Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.
P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.