Crossing the US – Virtually

Last year when I was entered in Runner’s World’s cover contest, the PCD Foundation was sharing and saying that I was running across the United States to raise awareness. While that was technically correct, I let them know there was a difference in language to us runners.

At some point since I started doing races in September 2014, I decided to run a race in every state. It is understandable that a non-runner would say running across the US. To us runners though, running across the US actually means going from coast to coast. Quite a few more miles than a race in every state, not to mention a much bigger time and financial commitment. But it did get me thinking – maybe, one day, I will run across the US.

I am once again entered into the Runner’s World’s cover contest (you can vote here) and, starting July 4th, I will be crossing the US – 3,521 miles. Although this crossing will be virtual.

The wonderful folks at Run They Edge have created the Amerithon Challenge, a virtual race with so many bells and whistles, it will keep participants active and interested throughout the whole event. The plus here is you don’t have to do all those miles solo, unless you want to of course, and you don’t have to run or walk them all. You can bike, hike, roller skate, roller blade, ski, snow shoe and even swim your way across the country. You can also have up to 8 people on a team.

I think this is a pretty great challenge for a family to take on. With some cool fly over videos the kids can learn about geography as they move from California to Washington, DC. They can learn about team work when the family goes for a walk and for a family of four a mile walk is suddenly four miles closer to the east coast. There’s an option that includes a wall map, so you can track each team member’s contribution.

One of the perks is that this is a Run The Edge event. I’ve done four virtual races/events with them so far and they really go out of their way to make it fun. In the Run The Year challenge they’ve been giving something away every day, from shoes to socks to sun glasses and more. They want their participants to get fit and have fun and laugh along the way. Just read their About Us on the website. Seriously, read it if you want a laugh, with the side effect of maybe wanting to watch a cat video.

I was honored and moved by the Run The Edge team when they asked me to be an ambassador for their Amerithon Challenge. I said “Yes” because in the year and a half that I’ve been participating in their events I’ve seen nothing but care, concern and consideration for others, along with wanting to spread a love of running in particular, and being active in general.

They also want to give back to their communities. Their Hug A Runner virtual races have benefited Girls On The Run. The Amerithon Challenge is benefiting Team Red White and Blue, whose mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.

I’m still working on getting my team together and I’m excited to have two other primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) people, including another supplemental oxygen user with 24% lung capacity (I’m at 40%) and the mom of a PCDer so far, along with a few maybes. Although there is no time limit for completing the challenge, I think we can do it in a year.

I plan on counting only my intentional miles. Since last year I only walked/ran a little over 800 miles, and it’s not looking like I’ll pass that this year, adding other exercise, especially biking, will be a big help. Who knows, I might end up walking/running/biking/rowing 3,521 miles by July 3, 2017.

Update 6/30/16:  Our team is up to 5 with another PCDer onboard.

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