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.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Towards Illinois

Another long hot day. Iowa has trees losing their leaves but this seems to be due to lack of rain rather  than seasonal chills. Here's a typical October roadside scene.

All the time we were journeying today Steve seemed strangely excited and when we came to Kalona all became clear.

There are about 7,000 Amish in Iowa with Kalona being the oldest settlement. Here's an example of how old technology lines up against new.

Roadsigns R us

Finally for today Steve's roadside hygiene took another predictable dip when he emerged from what was supposed to be a refreshing plunge.

Monday 10 October 2011


Iowa has been a really mixed bag so far. The roads are terrible from our viewpoint as the breakdown lane is gravel and therefore a nightmare to run on. Autumn seems to have been put on hold as it's still over 80 degrees Fahrenheit each day and very windy.

Some halfwit threw a carton of water from a passing car which fortunately hit Chris rather than Steve and then half a mile further on, a man flagged us down to say that he had seen what had happened and had taken a photo of the vehicle, which you can see below. Any good Iowan citizen reading this should feel free to pass it on to their local sheriff! (The plate is 965 TLO)

On a more positive note, most of the locals seem to be extremely friendly. We've had meals paid for, people stopping to give us apples and generally a great deal of interest in what we're doing.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Video Clip Update - Entering Iowa and Steve's diner wisdom

A short clip accounting Chris and Steve's journey into Iowa, as well as of Steve showing everyone the mental ramifications of running across america.

Another scorcher

Here in Iowa it remains stubbornly hot. The only thing to take the edge off the heat are the very strong cross winds which have been blustering around all day.
In the western states, particularly in Utah we were struck  by the number of  derelict properties. Here in Iowa the landscape is altogether tidier and more orderly. Here's a rare example of an old deserted cabin.

As a mark of the changing seasons  we passed through several towns where pumpkins and halloween were beginning to flex their festive muscles.

The dog that lived at this address soon became best mates with Steve.

Sometimes roadsigns can be baffling. Any thoughts on this one?!

Finally, we have found the people of Iowa so welcoming and friendly. In Carson, Boo, who ran the local diner, insisted that our breakfast was on the house. Here she is giving us a send off after making sure we had
a really good meal.

Thursday 6 October 2011

Hot sun beating on the blacktop

Still in the mid eighties out here and we are struggling with it. Anyway, enough of the drama, here's a shot of us having just crossed the Missouri on a bridge that wasn't washed away by the South Dakota ice flows.

Today Steve took an early bath en route when he was advised to take advantage of the roadside facilities.

Here's Chris at the city limits of a  Nebraskan town which almost gave its name to a search engine.

Monday 3 October 2011

East to Omaha

We haven't seen a cloud in the Nebraskan sky for four days - not even a single wispy line to shield us from the remains of the Summer. At 5 o'clock today a neon sign outside a bank said 83 degrees. Surely the Autumn will arrive soon?!

We have again been struck by our inability to judge distances even when this is too early in the day to blame the effects of beer. When the grain elevator in Central City came into view way down the road we estimated that it was 5 miles away. After 40 minutes of slowish running directly towards it  we then estimated that it was still 4 miles adrift. When we  arrived in town we were standing next to a square, white, block type building of truly immense proportions - similar to an albino version of Guildford Cathedral.

For those of you who don't have the faintest idea of what a grain elevator looks like, here's an example of a far more circular one  from  earlier in the day.

                                                   Polite notice in the Shelton general store.

Sunday 2 October 2011

Video Clip Update - Entering Nebraska

A short visual clip recounting Chris and Steve's travels through Nebraska so far.

Stray Dogs

Living up to his reputation as Dr Do-Little, Chris attracted the attentions of a four legged wanderer this morning. After a few miles of our new friend running in circles around us and risking his life by venturing out onto the Highway, we knocked on the first door we came across and tried our best to convince the owner that she should phone the dog warden (which she was happy to do) and look after Fido until he arrived (which she was not). However after some persuasion, agreement was reached and hopefully our furry friend has now been reunited with his owner.  


As you can see from the photo below, we have now entered Hitchcock and Steve has booked tonight's accommodation in what sounded like the Gates Motel, but the line was a bit crackly...