The main purpose of the 2006 solo run across America was to fulfill a promise I made on September 7, 2005 to a group of 4th and 5th grade students. That promise, which was made as a motivation technique, was that I would actually attempt to run 3,260 miles across the United States if either class could virtually do it first (during the 2005-2006 school year). My research had shown that an individual elementary class had not yet succeeded at completing a documented coast-to-coast crossing within one 9-month school year -- without using conversions, such as adding steps with pedometers or some other method. That was the challenge I presented to them... and they ran with it. I developed a virtual run/walk across America curriculum for the challenge. The 5th grade class, consisting of 41 students, successfully completed the journey 6 weeks before the school year ended (on April 25, 2006), and the 4th grade class of 56 students completed the journey three weeks later (on May 16, 2006). Each class actually ran and walked the 3,200 miles across America... step by step and mile by mile.
They accomplished the enormous task by running and walking through all kinds of weather conditions in Montana. They worked as teams to virtually traverse 15 states of our country, and battled against today's poor fitness statistics for kids. Then it was my turn. On June 23, 2006 my footprints were placed at Cannon Beach, Oregon as I headed east on a solo trek to Lewes, Delaware on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. As I traversed the route across America I shared our virtual trek curriculum with teachers and other interested people. I was thrilled to see other schools take the virtual run/walk curriculum and run with it. All great journeys begin with a single step. Those 4th and 5th grade students took that first step... and then more... and more, until they reached their goal. I also took that first step, and continued all the way to the Atlantic Ocean... 3,260 miles from where I started. I achieved my goal of actually running across America on October 20, 2006.
Final statistics about Paul's USA run can be found here