Race Across the USA- Inspiring a Healthier Generation

Beginning January 16th, 2015 an international team of eleven runners began their 4.5-month journey by foot to inspire a healthier generation, running an equivalent of 117 back-to-back marathons. The eleven runners male and female range from age thirty to the oldest being seventy-three. My husband Dr. Joseph Freeman and I had the honor of sponsoring this group of runners involved in an organization called Race Across the USA. This group started their journey in Huntington Beach, California and are currently running a full marathon (26.2 miles) everyday across the USA which will finish in Washington D.C on June 2nd. By the finish line, these runners will have completed an amazing total of 3080 miles. This group was started with the vision and mission of inspiring the youth to become more active and raise money along the way to donate to helping change the statistics that are very alarming and scary. According to the Center for Disease Control, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. At the present time, 12.5 million children, ages 6-19 in the United States are obese and many more are overweight. This current generation is the first generation with a lower life expectancy than their parents.

After the runners completed their marathon from Gordo Alabama to Tuscaloosa, my husband and I met up with the runners at their hotel in Northport they were staying in for the night. These runners were truly amazing and each had a story to tell of their motivation to do this and their experience so far. When they arrived in Tuscaloosa, it was their 74th marathon of the 114 they will soon complete. They were all tired and some very sore, but each had a smile on their face and welcomed us so kindly. Many had left spouses, significant others, children, and grandchildren to venture out on this journey, however they all stated how supportive all our loved ones were. One of my favorite stories I heard while meeting up was of a guy named Newton who started the race on his 73rd birthday and is a survivor of chronic lymphatic leukemia. When he was 25 years old, Newton signed up for one of these nationwide marathons, however later found out he and his wife were expecting their first child so he decided not to run. In his journal last year he wrote how he would unfortunately never fulfill his dream of running across the United States, only to find out about Race Across the USA a month later. Converting from a baseball pitcher to a runner, Newton has run 175 marathons and amazingly has run across Vermont in two days and the length of Vermont in four days.

This group is not only running hoping for donations, but influencing communities and schools along the way. They start running each day at eight in the morning and are done between noon and two in the afternoon depending on the runner. From there they have set up meetings, talks, and seminars at schools, colleges, and other organizations to spread the word of childhood obesity. While in Tuscaloosa, they gave a presentation at The University of Alabama on their mission, statistics about our youth’s health, and the urgency to help make a difference. I did ask the runners about how they liked Alabama and they responded with these three main comments: 1. Alabama is a very humid state to run in right now 2. The University of Alabama is absolutely gorgeous. 3. We heard about Dream Land BBQ before we starting running and have been talking about it for months. The day is finally here to try it and we cannot wait.

After spending the afternoon treating everyone with chiropractic care and just enjoying some fellowship, we left the runners to get some rest before their dinner at Dreamland! This group involved with Race Across the USA is truly amazing, their strength and motivation is beyond anything I have witnessed before. If you wish to learn more about this organization or simply track where they are on their journey, you can visit the website http://raceacrossusa.org.

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