Nov 3, 2023
We did it! We covered 3032 miles in 47 days, 12 hours, 35 minutes, and took more than a week off the existing FKT and world record for fastest crossing of the USA on foot. More details are available in my daily journal entries on strava or facebook, or news articles in the New York Times, Harvard Crimson, and NPR's All Things Considered.
This journey has been decades in the making. I've always been driven to tackle the biggest, highest, longest, hardest thing in front of me. Since childhood, I've dreamed of crossing the USA under my own power. As an adult the dream intensified, fueled by gratitude for the beauty of this country and the freedom it affords to dream big, work hard, and achieve audacious goals.
In 2019, I set out from San Francisco and ran 2,560 miles in 42 days, but my run ended with a devastating knee injury in eastern Ohio. Every single day for 4 years, through surgery and rehab and pandemic and work and family life, I have visualized the completion of this run. I almost started in September 2022 but a bad hamstring tear forced me to postpone again. Through summer 2023, I wrestled with minor injuries and competing priorities, but ultimately in the last week of August I was compelled to seize the day, and I scrambled to coordinate a team and logistics.
After a lifetime of dreaming, 47.5 days of running, 3037 miles, 12 states, 27 days of cornfields, 11 pairs of shoes, 300 eggs, countless cookies, some laughter and even more tears, over 1000 uplifting messages to my tracker, and 6 heros who teamed up as my tireless crew (Jill, Sydney, Grace, Michelle, Yan, Cinder), I experienced the moment of a lifetime when I crossed the George Washington Bridge with family and a growing pack of friends from every part of my life, who followed me through the last few miles to New York City Hall. Everybody deserves a magical moment like this, and I hope that my journey, through failures and faceplants, from sea to shining sea, can inspire others to seize the day and persist towards their own audacious goals.
I did not do this alone, and I am overwhelmed by gratitude for the many friends who gave their time and energy, sacrificed their sleep and comfort, and passed up other opportunities, to achieve this goal.
I am grateful for my 2019 crew Phil, Dwight, and Dean who supported me in my naivety through my 2560-mile dress rehearsal, which taught me invaluable lessons about routing, sleep, nutrition, and shinsplints that I was able to put to good use 4 years later.
Without the support and belief of my running partner Katherine, scientific colleague Dan Lieberman, physical therapist Rebecca (Healthy Soles PT), massage therapists Antonina (Antonina Bodywork) and Jesse (Keene Valley Massage), sports medicine specialists Dr. David Cormier, Dr. Adam Tenforde and Dr. Joanne Borg Stein, and inspiring transcon record holder Pete Kostelnick, I would never have made it to the starting line again in 2023.
Sydney's resourcefulness and quiet sense of humor were invaluable during the first 2 weeks through California and Nevada, as they leapfrogged me without fail every 3 miles, up to 15 hours/day, while we were struggling to establish routines through lightning and hail, deserts and high mountain passes, and hacking coughs and GI distress.
Grace was solid and patient and wise through the third week in Colorado when my legs tightened painfully, and she aced a crash course in massage that got me over the hump.
Michelle put her PhD in psychology and years of counseling experience to good work, to coax me through the peak harvest season in Nebraska when I cried my way through 44 mph headwinds, dust storms and fertilizer spraying, and corn pelting from John Deere monster trucks and passing semis.
Yan gifted me with unconditional love during week 5 in Iowa and Illinois, which felt like the 3rd lap of a 1500, when I was already gasping for breath but couldn't yet see the finish line ahead, so my cranky-meter was pinned on high all day long.
Cinder showed up just in time to put her magical massage skills to work, almost duct-taping my body together again every night to get me out the RV door again for one more day, one more day, one more day, through Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania until the final traverse of New Jersey, the George Washington Bridge, and Manhattan.
So many friends and strangers ran with me, gifted me with food or clothes, and sent messages of support. Special thanks to Peter & Matt who each joined me for 30+ miles on the last 2 days, when I was hanging on by a thread.
Thanks to my ever-patient husband Daniel who spent days finding and documenting the safest and most efficient route through the mountains, deserts, prairies, and cities of our vast and varied country. He also pinch-hit as crew and running partner in the last few days when we were all falling apart.
The MVP award goes to Jill Yeomans who served as my faithful crew chief for the duration (and took most of the photos on this page). Although new to the world of ultrarunning, and likely shocked by many aspects of it, she brilliantly handled every logistical challenge from RV plumbing to stray dogs, communicated seamlessly with every personality type and mood, and generously dispensed wisdom, hugs, egg sandwiches, and cookies, while shielding me as completely as possible from every stress other than putting one foot in front of the other. I still do not fully know the load that she carried privately throughout these long 7 weeks.
Friends and strangers came together with the priceless gift of a dream come true, and now I have to figure out how to pay it back to the crew who helped me, and pay it forward to the next generation of goal-setters and dreamers...
Love is Love
As a cis white woman, I was grateful to be supported by a heroic crew of 6 nonbinary, trans, lesbian, and other cis women of varying race and religion. Sport is a great opportunity to come together to support one another regardless of background, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious, cultural, or political affiliation. I still cannot believe my good luck in befriending each of these amazing individuals, and experiencing the development of this diverse sisterhood who was so respectful, resourceful, and highly committed to get me across country.