High schooler to run across America

Don’t kids provide great inspiration? I was just in California and met a bunch of teens who were getting ready for their first marathon as part of Teens Run Modesto. What an exemplary model of mentoring and accomplishing the extraordinary! Especially with today’s trend toward childhood obesity, I get very excited when I see programs like this. They deserve all the encouragement and support they get.

Meanwhile, I received this email from a 17-year-old high schooler who plans to run across the United States next year after he graduates. He wrote,

… It’s my dream, and it’s what I’m training for. Please, if you have any tips or if you want to help support my endeavor, please contact me. I’m in dire need of both, and it seems as if all the companies I’ve contacted aren’t taking me seriously. Age is not my limit, dreams are not my limit, and my drive to run this are not my limits—my mind is set on this. My limits are support and tips. Mind over Body, that is my belief, and it’s been good to me thus far.

My kind of kid! Age is not my limit, dreams are not my limit: wise words from someone who might be considered “too young.” But here’s my response:

Dear M. B.,

This is fantastic. It’s a big undertaking, and my suggestions are as follows.

  • Get your family involved as they will be your lifeline and likely your crew.
  • It will be hard to attract sponsorship from corporations, but you should keep trying, especially local ones looking to support you.
  • Lean on friends and family to provide you with, say, a van or RV so you have a place to stay.
  • Get a hold of the local newspapers and ask them to do a big splash. I would be happy to do an interview after talking with you, if you think it will help you get coverage.
  • See if you can gain support via Facebook, and get a blog-based Web site going.
  • Have someone, like one of your high school coaches, call a news tip in to a TV affiliate for starters.
  • Do a fundraiser, such as a car wash, to get your school behind you.

Keep in touch, and let’s bounce some ideas around.

marsh

Have any ideas for our young runner on garnering support? Please post ’em here!

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13 Responses to High schooler to run across America

  1. Brett says:

    A lot of restaurants will do what they call ‘Spirit Night’, or something similar. They will give you 10%-20% of the proceeds for the evening. Your job (17 year old and friends and family) is to get as many fannies in the seats as possible. They may give total proceeds, or they may give proceeds to only those who mention they came for you. Volume is key, and this is where facebook, emails from friends to their friends, and so on come into play.

    Another idea is to link up with a charity. Split your fundraising with them and give 100% above your costs to that charity. That would make the liklihood of success (fundraising) even more I would think. Folks at that charity will then help trumpet your cause. I don’t know what people will say if you are only raising money to foot your own person expedition.

    • Marshall says:

      Brett, GREAT suggestion about partnering with a charity and this will further motivate Mart to complete the task at hand!
      marsh

    • Mart says:

      Sir, thank you so much for your advice. I will definitely try to link up with some local resteraunts and charities to see what I can get going. By the way sir, it’s people like you as well as Mr. Ullrich, Mr. Cox, Mr. Mueller, and Ms. or Mrs. Kat that inspire youth like me to achieve goals. With your advice I will most certainly be able to achieve mine. Thank you fo yor support and i shall not forget this blog… Partly because I hardly ever blog, but also partly because six very helpful individuals are helping me so very much. I can’t thank all of you enough for the advice you are giving me.
      – Mart B.

  2. BILL COX says:

    I agree with Marsh, social media is a quick way to reach the masses. FYI: PayPal allows you to set up a “donation button” in HTML script, which can be added to FB, Blog, email… whatever you decide.

    Brett is right when he said, “I don’t know what people will say if you are only raising money to foot your own person expedition”. I EAGERLY want to attend the Dreams in Action Running Camp and I’m looking for ways to raise money for the experience. It’s been a challenge to come up an idea to pitch to people that will result in successful donations. I’m worried I will raise “some” money, but not enough to go… then I have an entirely new problem. These economic times are not helping matter much either.
    BILL COX´s last blog post ..Offline

    • Mart says:

      Something Mr. Ulrich pointed out were car washes. I know it’s far-fetched if you’re out of your teen years however if you have kids it’s do-able… but then again sir there is NO age limit. If I may add something, hone in on any possible skill you have and use that to raise money. Far-fetched, really far-fetched I’m not going to lie, but let’s say you’re an incredible runner… apply for a coaching position at a school, if not that, run for charity and donate all excess to an organization. Kind of like hoops for hope but instead it could be um, “steps toward cures” or ” every mile ran a smiled spans”. Look into hospitals in your local area and see exactly what specific area needs the most donations and base your fundraiser on that, or if you have a personal illness in mind use that as a source. Mr. Ulrich posted some good ideas above before the blog starts so maybe that could help? I like to think no idea is an idiotic one, slightly far-fetched or even extremely far-fetched… it’s an idea and it shouldn’t be over-looked because you never know what it can flower into. Your runs for example, could one day flower into a series of marathons, all raising money for what YOU ran for and it could be something great that YOU started. However, I’m still looking for ideas for my endeavor so if you have any, please shoot a couple over here. I’m very open-minded when it come to advice. Which reminds me, thank you for yours.
      – Mart

  3. BILL COX says:

    Forgot to add…

    I would suggest trying to run across his/her home state or a couple well know Ultras first. This will give the runner a bit of credibility to potential sponsors.
    BILL COX´s last blog post ..Offline

  4. Hello Trans America Kid,

    Dreaming big is good, but looking to facts helps to understand that kind of undertaking. Running across America means different things to different people. And some younger runners have managed to run across the country in 5-9 month like these:

    The 21 year old Dan Popp ran in 223 days with an average of 13 miles a day across the country.
    Jasmine Jordan, 17 averaged 11 miles in her 287 day long run.
    Katie Visco, 24 did it in 275 days with 11.3 miles average.
    Abe Clack, 24 did it with 21.2 miles a day for 135 days.
    If you are able to find a support crew and financing for 6-9 month go for it.

    But there are a couple of eason why the average age is 37.5 years and the average milage more than 38 a day. One thing are the costs involved being on the road for so long and finding a support crew if you are not going on your own with a babyjogger. The main reason is running experience. It helps a lot if you know how your body reacts in different situations. Entering ultramarathon races help to built this knowledge.

    I would advise you to run ultra races once you are 18 and talk to other runners. The nice thing in the ultramarathon community is, that everybody helps each other. And finally, treat your body well and don’t overuse it, you have only one!

    All the best
    Markus

    All statistics can be found here on John Wallace fabulous website:
    http://www.usacrossers.com
    Markus Mueller´s last blog post ..LA-NY School presentation in Hannibal-MO

    • Marshall says:

      Markus, very well said!

    • Mart says:

      Sir, thank you very much! I’ve ran Ragnar Del Sol twice now, and I can’t wait to clock in some serious milage. Rangar Del Sol is a 200 mile long Relay race… you have a team of twelve and you run all day and all night. On the road the runners are competitive, during the few hours of “down-time” they talk, joke, and watch other runners clock in at the checkpoints. This last year I personally ran 29.8 miles because we had only 10 out of the 12 runners so there was some distance to be made up. I’m not gonna blog my stats but sir, it was the most exciting 24 hours of my life and I would recommend ANYONE to run one if they get the chance. For some it may be a test, for others it may just be a tease… however, if you’re willing, it’s fun for ALL. Again the race is called Ragnar Relay’s and they have different race names in different states. Like Dean Karnanzes says “Learn from everyone, follow no one.”. It’s a great learning expierence and if I’m right, I believe he ran the entire race by himself a couple years back… anythings possible.
      “If a goal is rendered, the a will is rendered to accomplish it.”
      -Mart Brown
      P.S. that’s one of my own personal qoutes. I hope you find it as helpful as you’ve helped me. Agaain, thank you sir.

  5. Kat says:

    Although I am not sure that I can add to the very valuable comments from accomplished runners, I think that there is something to be said for the ability to share your experience. People want to follow the experience of someone who is articulate and likable and sponsors want someone who can retain a following. Lots of people in the ultrarunning community have done incredible things, but the ones you have heard of are the ones who know how to communicate what they have accomplished.

    I have been very fortunate in connecting with sponsors and media through my blog (which, honestly, is not a good template in that I do not post as frequently as I “should”). While my posts are infrequent, I have received positive feedback on my photography and my use of language as a means of sharing my experiences which shows that there is no “right” template to follow, but that you should capitalize on your strengths. If you would struggle to effectively utilize social media, hone those skills or recruit the help of someone who has an eye for writing and editing to help you.

    As has already been suggested, if you complete smaller events first then you can add these to your blog to establish a following and a presence while practicing your style of communication. Above those benefits, sponsors also like to see that you can do what you set out to do and as has already been mentioned, the ultrarunning community is an incredible one- you can meet people, learn lots and begin to share your story where it will most likely hold the greatest interest.

    I love your attitude! I wish you the best in your endeavor!

  6. Mart says:

    Hey guys great advice thank you! Currently I’m cross training with a road bike to build more endurance in my legs, its just something I’m trying to do to get ahead. As for the fundraising, I’m definitely going to donate all excess to an organization. I want my run to benefit some kind of health organization but i haven’t decided which one yet.

  7. EricG says:

    All I can say is work hard and you can do it Mart. Read a lot, talk to experienced runners, train well and learn what works for you. Nice to know you have someone like Marshall in your corner. Your story has sparked some thoughts for my most recent running tip on my blog. Hope you both check it out and enjoy. Peace EricG

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