Wednesday 16 November 2011

A short film of our run

Ben has produced a very good 12 minute film of our run, which can be seen here:

Chris blathers for a few seconds before the video actually starts, so just be patient- it's well worth it.

Friday 11 November 2011

Unwinding in New Jersey

We are at Chris' sister's house in New Jersey for a few days rest before the flight home. We ran across in an 'official ' time of 79 days 22 hours and then completed the New York Marathon 15 hours later in 3.38 with a 12 minute negative split - We're pleased to have been able to taper for this event  with only 288 miles in the previous seven days.

 As you can imagine there's quite a lot of sorting out to be done and below are a few photos which summarise different aspects of the run.

Although we wore out the equivalent of about three pairs each during the run we rotated several more pairs on top of this in order to limit the risk of injuries or blisters.

A feature of any run across America is that there's a lot of 'stuff' to find by the road side. Here are most of the tools we came across. The favourite is the posh Italian kitchen knife - luckily we didn't need to explain that one to the cops as we ran down Highway 6 with it. The calculator was a well timed find as we had been trying to work out 1727 divided by 43 not four minutes before we came across it.

Licence plates from almost every state - I'm working on Nebraska and Joanna has waltzed off with the California one so I need to reclaim it..........

Monday 7 November 2011

Diving Into the Atlantic

A very brief clip showing the final moments of Chris and Steve's run across america, please keep watching this space for more to follow!


On Saturday we started our run 10 miles west of Fort Lee, New Jersey. The stretch to the George Washington Bridge was one of the most dangerous parts of our run but the adrenaline  rush of  several near death experiences saw us carve out an impressive 7mph pace for this first section. We crossed the bridge and symbolically entered our last state at 178 Street on Manhattan.
Registration for the NY Marathon was relatively straight forward but connecting with the Press Office was a more eventful story. We ended up (in our sweaty running kit, obviously) on the 44th Floor of the Hilton amidst tables groaning under  the strain of smoke salmon and avocados. Whilst more polite and very skinny Kenyan athletes held back, Steve ripped into the feast with unrestrained gusto in a bid to eat his own weight in food inside 20 minutes. Our story spread and by the time we took the lift back to the ground floor (to resume our run to Coney Island) Kathrine Switzer (NY Marathon winner, 1974 and the first woman to run Boston as a numbered entry) was asking us questions about our trip too.

So, on to Brooklyn via another famous bridge....

We arrived at Coney Island at 6pm just as the sun was setting - 79 days 22 hours for the crossing.

As billed, we dived  into the Atlantic to complete our 3,100 miles journey. On emerging we realised that Jim Shapiro, author of 'Meditations from the Breakdown Lane' was there too. Jim's book had been the inspiration for our trip and so this was a very fitting end to it.

Ben, Steve, Chris and Julia on the Coney Island  beach - too late for ice creams.

Chris with sister Sue

Chris with son, Tom.

Major thanks to Chris's niece, Felicity who made the celebration cake. Chris took no time to eat California, Oregon and Washington State.

And so the day drew to a close but we took heart from the fact that we now had four hours in bed before we needed to go to Staten Island for the start of the marathon.

Saturday 5 November 2011

And miles to go before I sleep

Well, 30 on Saturday to the Atlantic and 26.2 on Sunday to qualify for the Reese's Pieces in Central Park.
Anyone who can get to the boardwalk near  West Fifth Street on Coney Island at 4.30pm on 5th November will be there to see us complete our 3,100 mile journey from sea to shining sea.

Despite the world looking strangely rotated the vital signs confirm that Steve's map reading is more or less on track.

A previous blog showed a dead Cadillac and here is one that is very much alive - somewhere in Western New Jersey.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

The selected thoughts of Chairman Steve

For more nonsense read the blog at

144 to go

A couple of sunny days have helped progress after the dumping of snow earlier. Another day and a half in Pennsylvania and we should then be moving into New Jersey for the final onslaught.

We still plan for arrival at New York on Saturday afternoon.

Outside a music store in Bloomsburg, PA.

Not exactly Move in Ready - Gotta be a fixerupper.

Deer just before sunset, Whitehaven, PA.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

186 miles to go to the big dive into the Atlantic

We are now in Bloomsburg, eastern Pennsylvania. It's still very hilly.....I suppose it always was.
We expect to complete the run on Saturday 5th November and will be booking into rehab early the following Monday.

Steve used to be a ski instructor and sometimes old habits die hard.

Most of the snow has now melted and here's a 360 degree shot of the backroads we are following taking us through delightful villages and communities in this very picturesque part of the US.

Edging 7 mph downhill........

Dead Cadillac.

Evening shadows towards the end of a 43 mile day - confirming that we are headed in the right direction.

Sunday 30 October 2011

Punxsutawney Phil is on the critical list.......

..........and we can look forward to another 5 months of winter.

It comes as small comfort to know that the last time it snowed this heavily and early in Pennsylvania it was way back in 1979. We spent the day just about staying upright but with  constant waves of spraying slush coming at us from oncoming vehicles. We managed 40 miles and were pleased to get through it all in one piece. We remain on schedule for the NYC Marathon on 6 November but this was a very tough day.
262 miles remain to that dip in the Atlantic.

We passed  Brady and Ian fresh from a morning's garden work near (yes really) Snowshoe, PA.

Later in the day we passed a bar owned by Brenda who, taking pity on our bedraggled state, gave us both new gloves, free food, access to a wonderful fire and great company. THANK YOU!!

Saturday 29 October 2011

Phil the groundhog is shivering

Today we ran 43 miles in cold but dry conditions. Tomorrow 3-6 inches of snow is forecast. Yikes.

As the sign shows, we have now run through 9 states with 3 remaining.

Fallen Fall fruit

Steve celebrating Halloween with some of his dedicated running mates en route.

Friday 28 October 2011

Snow forecast

As we pass near Punxsutawney it seems right that we obsess about the weather. Mind you with the weather we are now facing its difficult not to. Today the temperatures fell dramatically and sleet was a feature of the late afternoon. All this a fortnight after days maxing at over 80 degrees.

Sometimes it seems like the run will never end and this sign made us think that maybe New York was further away than we realised.

We think of Americans being very sure and positive about the products that they sell but here this is not entirely obvious.

Any thoughts on this one?

Thursday 27 October 2011

Snow expected

Whilst still in Ohio we saw this early reminder of where we're headed - a 30 foot replica of  the old lady herself advertising Liberty Taxation Services - what else?

After this we entered Pennsylvania, but hardly noticed due to the very discreet, dangling  roadsign. Out West the state signs were far bolder  and frankly much more fun.

Finally, as we are in Pennsylvania, home of the Hershey Bar, we offer a huge bar of chocolate as the prize for the first person to correctly identify the town where this signage is on display.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Almost Pennsylvania

We are now in far eastern Ohio and the hills are beginning.....

Although we are less than 500 miles from the Atlantic we know what remains is going to be tough. The relentless hills of Pennsylvania will take it out of us for at least a week.

Here are some local organisations in Brunswick. As is common throughout the US sections of highway are sponsored by these organisations who undertake to keep that section free of litter. The Optimist Club of Brunswick are one such outfit - but why they think anyone would drop litter remains a mystery.

Today we were honoured to be joined by Jim McCord, who ran across the US in 2002. He drove from Kentucky to be with us - what a star. In 6 miles of running with us Jim proved that his transcontinental skills hadn't left him. He found a screwdriver and a working LCD watch in the breakdown lane. Jim took up running just one year before he ran across the US. IMAGINE THAT!!

Finally, here's  a picture of what a typical morning now looks like when we start running.

Sunday 23 October 2011

Video Clip Update - Rain in Indiana and 3,000,000 steps to Ohio

Chris gives an update on the pairs current position and progress through Indiana and into Ohio.

Relentlessly East

U.S Route 6, also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway (after a veterans' association from the American Civil War) runs from California to Maine. We have been following various sections of it for over 2,000 miles. Here's a small section of it from this morning's run, shot near Bowling Green, Ohio after we had run about 3 miles east. Today we found a small saw and a screwdriver. This brings out current tally of really useful  items to about 25 - plus 11 licence plates of the states we have passed through. We finished tonight in Clyde having covered 44 miles.

Entering Fremont later in the day we saw these on offer by the side of the road but thought the carbo loading wasn't worth the suffering.

Here's a very small sample of our route planning, which we use in conjunction with local maps. Some instructions say go down road x for 50 yards and turn right. Others say turn right and follow the road for 135 miles......

Friday 21 October 2011

Winter in the Mid West

The last two days have brought torrential, freezing rain. Running through this has frankly been pretty grim but there is no choice so that's the issue sorted...............We spent 3.5  days running across Indiana and today ended 12 miles into Ohio.

We really enjoy taking coffee and breakfasts in diners - far more sociable and welcoming than the fast food outlets. At this one near the Indiana / Ohio border we were welcomed and looked after royally. Here's a group who joined us briefly and were kind enough to sponsor our fundraising for Help For Heroes. Thanks Neil and gang.

Steve is looking to expand his substantial  property business into North America and he clearly has ambitious plans if this first 'toe in the water' purchase in the Mid West is anything to go by.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Another state, another time zone

Major thanks to Rachel for buying us all  Saturday breakfast coffees before we set forth from Peru, IL.

On Sunday we were joined by Julian Gordon, the Chicago based brother of Jeffrey, a London Marathon Everpresent. He ran with us for 10 miles and this really broke up the daily routine well. Thanks for the cake!

Today we crossed over into Indiana having run  through the south Chicago suburbs which seemed so congested after recent weeks of rural country highways.

Chris stopped at a running shop just off Highway 6 in Schererville to buy new shoes and, once the story emerged of the run, Misty Chandos at Fleetfeet Sports was generous enough to donate a new pair of shoes to both of us for free. - an amazingly kind gesture with the old Nikes at last consigned to the bin.

Saw this off Highway 6 .......I love this country!!!

Sunday 16 October 2011

Cooling down

We are now about 60% through Illinois heading relentlessly east. Today had an international flavour as  we headed through Peru, Norway and Lisbon.

 The weather is hitting the perfect phase between the heat of Summer and the chills of looming Winter. We hope this will last for another 20 or so days until we reach New York but we know we'll be lucky to get there without rain, hail, flurries and winds against us from the East. We are now going all out to make New York by 5 November as this will allow us to line up for the ING New York City  Marathon the following day. This calls for a daily mileage of about 42 miles.

For the last 60 days Chris has concentrated on a sensible diet of lentils, avocados and fruit. Steve's nutrition has been more hit and miss with the result that his weight loss has been severe.

It doesn't get more seasonal than this sight from a stall we passed in deepest, rural Illinois.

Friday 14 October 2011

Video Clip Update - Illinois and 1000 miles to go

Into the land of Lincoln

We've now crossed the Mississippi at Muscatine, about 100 miles further north than we originally planned on account of more southerly bridges across the Missouri being damaged by flooding. This has added about 40 miles to our expected distance which now stands at around 3,100. We are still planning on running the New York Marathon on 6 November but this is going to be very tight now.

 Here we are under the dreary skies that greeted out arrival in Illinois.

Here's how one of Springsteen's finest songs should be played.

Here's an interesting idea from a coffee shop in Geneseo, a lovely old town in rural Illinois.