Many people ask me why I like to run so far, particularly "Across America". Here are a few reasons!
Promote an active lifestyle. Like many Americans, I started running to lose weight. During college, I tipped the scale at 200 lbs and set a goal to complete a marathon, something I thought I would never do--the Marine Corp Marathon while I was interning in Washington, DC. Shortly thereafter back at college in Ames, Iowa, I met my future wife who inspired me to start running again (after she beat me on our first run together) and to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which I did in 2009 and ran in 2010. After getting burnt out on road marathons, I was still thirsty for more. I ran my first "ultra" in 2011, and met Marshall Ulrich at the Pikes Peak Marathon that year after also running Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim. I was hooked, and after reading his book about running across America several times, I couldn't look back.
Dare to dream big. I read about the Badwater 135 ultramarathon (a foot race from Death Valley to Mount Whitney) in my first year of college. I had never run further than 12 miles before, and was blown away that people did something like this. I never intended to even run a marathon at that point, but I remember telling a girl I had just met that I wanted to do things "like" the Badwater 135 some day. Little did I know I actually would, and place first with the course record! Running has taught me a lot about myself and how much more is possible than we think in life. But, in order to, you have to dive in the deep end and have faith in yourself. Sometimes I feel like I'm diving off a cliff into the deep end of the ocean to swim with sharks, but I think that's a good thing!
Do what you love. At a very young age, I enjoyed going on road trips with my family. We drove everywhere you can in the US--even Alaska! With my passion for running and seeing the open road, running across America just made sense. So much so that I want to do it a second time! Between the people you meet, the places you see, and the challenge you set out to tackle, it's been my most rewarding experience.