Thursday, September 7, 2017

Why I Don't Coach Others On How To Run Across America

I can't begin to tell you how many people have contacted me over the past 11 years wanting advice, coaching, guidance and support for their own attempt at running across the United States. They usually find the website of my 2006 ocean-to-ocean crossing and send me a message to ask all sorts of questions. If they would just spend time at my run across America website, most of their questions would be answered. I have daily journal writings, pictures, videos, and more available to anyone who is willing to take the time. During the first few years after my successful crossing, I would write back to those who reached out to me -- offering my suggestions, advice, and opinions based on my own experience. I don't do that anymore. Why? Because too many people are getting injured, becoming permanently disabled, and even dying as a result of attempts to cross the country on foot.

In recent years, there seems to have been a spike in walkers/runners being struck by vehicles while trying to cross the country to promote a cause or charity. Personally, I had seven close calls with cars when I ran across America and was fortunate to avoid being struck. I've read about fathers and sons killed while trying to run across America, leaving their families to grieve the tremendous loss. I simply won't put myself into a position of possibly contributing to such a tragedy by coaching someone on how to run across the country.

Recently, a husband and father of four kids was struck by a vehicle while in the final 700 miles of his run across America to raise money and awareness for a charity. The picture accompanying this blog entry is how he looks now. He was struck by a vehicle while he was running along the edge of a highway. In the past month he has had five surgeries due to extensive injuries and will spend another 5+ months in the hospital. He has to learn to walk all over again, and has been told that he'll never run again. There is REAL risk in taking on a coast-to-coast walk/run. Inattentive drivers are everywhere and accidents happen in a split second. I truly was fortunate to successfully complete my 3,260-mile USA crossing, as well as my subsequent solo runs across Alaska, Montana, Germany, and the Mojave Desert. The man pictured above is my age and now his future, and his family's future, is uncertain. It's a sad conclusion to what started out to be a positive endeavor with an admirable purpose.

So, I don't offer assistance of any kind to people wanting to try and cross the USA on foot, or any other large expanse of land. My solo running adventures are well documented and available online, and that is the only information that I'm willing to share. I wish all cross-country trekkers success, and for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one who attempted it... I extend my deep condolences. To those who are fighting to heal, I offer my prayers for strength, courage and perseverance.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso