Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Running Is Not My Job!

Even though it has been 10 years since I ran solo across America, and 5 years since my last "adventure run" (across the Mojave Desert), I still occasionally receive messages from people wanting advice for long-distance running endeavors they're planning. Some are under the false impression that I'm a "professional runner" and have corporate sponsors to be able to do the various solo runs across states and countries that I've done. That is 100% incorrect!

Yes, I am "Founder" and "President" of The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc. (a non-profit organization formed in 2009). However, I receive NO salary from that and do not have corporate sponsors. In fact, the foundation has been sitting dormant for about five years and has a bank account balance of approximately $10.

The truth is, most of the adventure runs I've done have cost me thousands of dollars of my own money, with the balance of expenses being offset by people who simply hand me $5 or $10 here and there -- usually when I'm running across a state or country. I have raised some money through school speaker fees that were paid directly to The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation and then used for adventure runs to promote youth health and fitness. However, I am not a "professional runner" and am not paid by any organization or corporation to run.

When I'm not running behind my support stroller over mountains, across deserts, and through towns and cities, I'm working full time in a law firm -- something I first began doing back in 1993 when I was only 28 years old. The areas of law that I currently focus on are securities fraud, construction liability and personal injury. Essentially, my professional experience includes analyzing the facts of a case and its legal implications; drafting discovery; performing fact/legal research; developing medical chronologies; interviewing witnesses; writing Memorandums of Law; preparing legal briefs; and much more.

I hold two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Montana and prior to working for the firm I am currently with in Indiana, I worked for law firms in Alaska and Montana specializing in commercial litigation, environmental law, probate and estates, and personal injury. I've also worked for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Hearings and Appeals.

That's a side of my life that people don't see when they witness a guy running down the side of the road pushing 80-pounds of gear, food and water in the middle of nowhere. While on an adventure run I've actually had people yell at me "Get a job!" -- usually as they're driving by. If they only knew that I do indeed have a job and that I sacrifice personal time to do the adventures I do... all to try and encourage today's youth in goal setting and greater health/fitness.

I've been blessed to receive many accolades over the years, both in my professional life and my athletic life. I've also been a Torchbearer for the 2002 Olympic Games, received an award from the Mayo Clinic for my efforts in reducing childhood obesity in America, and was inducted as the first European PTA Youth Ambassador. However, what I am most proud of is being a father to four wonderful children (ages 16, 18, 21, 23). Parenthood is the ultimate 'adventure' and I've tried to be the best father I can be -- even when life's road became challenging with unexpected twists and turns. The satisfaction of running thousands of miles alone across America, Germany, Alaska, and the Mojave Desert doesn't come close to the satisfaction, joy and contentment that comes with being a Dad.

Keep reaching for life's mileposts!

Gotta Run,

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.