MONTANA MAN RUNS ACROSS AMERICA... SOLO
The trek, termed "P.A.C.E. Run 2006", was the direct result of a running and walking effort by 97 students at Russell Elementary School in Missoula where Staso's wife, Vicki, is the physical education teacher. During a bedtime discussion in June 2005, he and his 11-year-old daughter, Ashlin, came up with the idea to have the 4th and 5th grade students at her school do a virtual trek across America by adding their combined walking and running mileage in P.E. class. To encourage the students toward success, Staso promised the classes that if either could succeed within one school year, then he would run their coast-to-coast route for real. Both classes completed the challenge by the end of the school year, and Paul began running across America on June 23, 2006.
Staso went into the trek with experience in ultra-endurance running. He first attempted a run across America in 1986, but that journey was stopped by injury. However, his attempt this summer was successful. The grueling trek took him over the Northern Rocky Mountains, traversing barren plains, into numerous towns and cities, across the steep Appalachian Mountain range, and through the second hottest summer ever recorded in U.S. history - all while pushing a 65-pound jogging stroller.
"By what I understand, my solo run across America followed the most northerly route ever taken by a trans-con runner," Staso said. "With the record breaking heat and the desolate locations in many areas leading up to Minnesota, it was a huge mental and physical challenge." The stroller that he pushed carried a maximum of 2 1/2 gallons of water, food, tent, sleeping bag, solar panel (for charging his GPS, satellite phone, and cell phone), and other essentials. The route was carefully planned before the journey began and some of Staso's friends in Missoula would arrange lodging for him. "I stayed in homes, hotels, motorhomes, and a variety of places," he said. "In fact, I never had to use my tent at all."
Paul is available for presentations at schools and other places where a message about his trek and the importance of youth health and fitness is appropriate. He began running when he was in the fifth grade and enjoys encouraging kids to be more conscious of their overall health and fitness. For details, pictures and daily journal entries about Paul's trek, visit pacerun.com.
To learn more about the students' virtual trek across America, visit seeusrun.com.