Wednesday, December 4, 2019

More and More People are Striding Along Roadsides to Cross America

As you're going about your day, there are people walking and jogging across the United States. As you work, eat lunch, enjoy time with your family, and sleep... they are out there putting one foot in front of the other -- striding from one side of the country to the other for various reasons and causes. The increase in popularity of crossing the country on foot has boomed in recent years, primarily due to the growth of social media.

Over three years ago, I wrote about the use of social media by those who choose to trek across America. I've previously written about whether Forrest Gump's fictional run across America is possible -- and yes, it is a fictional story! I've written about those who have claimed to cross the country on foot, but who were dishonest in their claims. Some crossers are wanting others to pay for their grand cross country adventures, while others fund their own endeavors.

Currently, there are several people crossing the country for numerous reasons and causes, such as: raising money for national parks; awareness of plastics pollution; the Make-a-Wish organization; awareness of refugee crisis; funds for fighting cancer; and more. With each passing year, there are more people stepping out to take on the challenge of crossing the country on foot. These crossings take anywhere from 3 months to well over one year, depending on the person who is undertaking the quest. When I ran 3,260 miles solo across America in 2006, I spent 108 days pounding the pavement (about 3 1/2 months). That was an average of 30 miles per day while pushing a stroller weighing 60+ pounds filled with gear, food and water.

There are certainly those who embark on a coast-to-coast adventure and quit shortly into the journey, finding that the open road can be relentless to the body, mind and emotions. However, each year there are dozens of people who set out to stride across the country. When I did my crossing over 13 years ago, there were only two people who successfully completed the journey... and I was fortunate to be one of them. However, that was before the days of social media, which has truly created a boom in interest with respect to crossing the United States to promote and/or raise funds for a cause.

Since we are in the winter season, most of the current crossers are on a very southerly route across America -- where the temperatures are warmer and snow doesn't have to be an issue to deal with. There are many others who have websites and are preparing for their crossings in 2020. When I made my first attempt to run across America in 1986 at the age of 21, nobody was crossing the country on foot. It was rather unheard of and just a mention of such an idea would not only raise eyebrows and roll eyes, but would be laughed at as being impossible. Today, the undertaking has become quite more common.

So, as you're relaxed at home reading this, or at your office desk, know that somewhere there is a man or woman striding along a highway or country road on a journey of crossing the entire United States under his or her own physical power... reaching for one milepost after another as cars pass them without hardly giving a glance. Yes, they're out there... for one reason or another... aiming to join a growing number of people who have successfully traversed the country on foot.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso