Arlington runner’s non-stop run across America almost over

Mike Wardian is about to raise $100,000 for charity. He is set to finish his race on Friday in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

PERRY HALL, Md. — Editor’s note: This is a version of the WUSA9 story originally published on May 10. New details on Wardian’s race will be updated here shortly.

It’s day nine of distance runner Mike Wardian’s latest and most intense challenge. He’s on Highway 50 in central Nevada, ran just under fifty-two miles and climbed 3,400 feet.

He reports to his Facebook followers that he “felt good and bad today but mostly good.”

Not since Forrest Gump’s fictional epic across America has an American athlete taken on such a daring mission.

The has been a guy who recreated Forrest Gump’s 15,000+ mile race, but he’s British. So does it really matter? (Just kidding! HERE is his story.)

Mike Wardian is one of the most accomplished ultra-marathon runners in the world. He has won several championships in races of 50 miles and over. He crossed Israel in 10 days. He also ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

In 2020 he beat a compatriot from the Czech Republic to win the ‘Quarantine Backyard Ultra’, covering 263 miles in 63 hours.

Wardian also rode the 90-mile distance around the Capital Beltway in 2019 in 96-degree heat.

“I saw Forrest Gump and said it looked amazing, I would love to do it one day. But I really didn’t have the physical shape yet,” Wardian said.

On May 1, at age 48, Wardian briefly dipped his foot in the Pacific Ocean, left a beach in San Francisco and took on his biggest challenge yet and a lifelong dream.

“I’ve been working towards this all my life. I feel like every mile I’ve walked, every experience I’ve had has prepared me to go. So now it’s the ‘time to go and I just have to go out there and run,’ Wardian said when we met outside his Arlington, Va., home the day before his flight to California.

Wardian uses the race to raise funds and awareness for World Vision, a group that focuses on providing clean water to poor children and families around the world.

On Day 9, Wardian helped raise $21,700 of his $100,000 goal.

Wardian hopes to set foot in the Atlantic Ocean around the July 4 holiday weekend.

“Most people who do this (transcontinental race), they quit their jobs and their lives,” Wardian said. “I’ve worked at the same brokerage for twenty-five years and have a wife and kids. I coach people. So I didn’t know how to make it work. Eventually I figured out how to that it works. and I think I kind of did it now.”

In April, Wardian took part in an ultra-marathon in Sri Lanka, ran in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, then led a para-athlete across the Boston Marathon finish line.

He promised to take a few days off before heading west and starting the race.

I asked him to participate in a whirlwind round of questions as we raced through his neighborhood.

“How fast are you going to run?” I asked.

“Anywhere between eight and fifteen minutes per mile,” he replied.

“How many kilometers will you run per day? »

“Fifty miles a day,” he replied.

“How many pairs of shoes will you burn?”

“It’s actually a bet, so I don’t know if I can give the number of shoes. There’s an over/under twenty if anyone wants to play the game,” he said.

“What are you most looking forward to?”

“I’m very excited about meeting people,” he said.

“What’s the thing you’re most afraid of?”

Wardian sketched out 62 segments planned for the race, the shortest is 42.5 miles and the longest is 63.5.

He will climb a total of 123,000 feet, more than four times Mount Everest in Nepal, the highest mountain in the world. He will consume between 5,000 and 10,000 calories per day.

Wardian took advice from other ultra-marathon runners and his two main takeaways were to take care of his feet and go slower than you think necessary.

You can follow Mike’s run and donate to World Vision HERE.

Mike posts frequently on Instagram and Facebook.

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