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First Transcontinental Race in Three Years Planned for 2015
Beginning in January of 2015, 12 other core team members will lead a foot-race and carry a message across the USA.
After completing his first Ironman, Darren Van Soye co-collaborated to create a 100-mile running challenge to raise money to combat childhood obesity. Now he is gearing up once again to pair his passion for running with a social cause. Beginning in January of 2015, Darren, along with 11 other core team members, will lead a foot-race and carry a message across the USA. Their purpose: to raise awareness of the childhood inactivity epidemic in this country, and to share their passion for running as a possible solution. I caught up with Darren to get some details about the Race Across the USA.
Give us some background on Race Across the USA
The Race Across the USA is a footrace scheduled for January 16 through June 2, 2015 (140 days). Our cause is childhood fitness. All proceeds for this event will go to 100 Mile Club® – a 501(c)(3) organization. The running distance from California to Washington D.C. will total 3,080 miles. There will be 12 core team runners who will run across the entire country. There will be up to 20 runners in each one of the states or a portion thereof. Runners will run stages that are approximately 26.2 miles (a marathon) long and participate in expos with students and the local community to get the word out. The event will start in Huntington Beach, California and pass through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington D.C. On June 2, the runners will finish the day at the White House in Washington D.C.
What are the goals of Race Across the USA?
According to the CDC, childhood “inactivity”
What will take place during the school visits?
We plan several types of school visits. At one end of the spectrum, we might simply run past the school and give the kids a “high-five”
Let's assume that most kids are pretty active during their daily recesses.
The reality is that kids are not as active as you would think. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that young people aged 6–17 years participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. However, some estimate that just half of our school-age children are meeting this standard. Let's face it, unless you can present kids with something that is really engaging they just won't do it. While there are many very good programs out there, we need one that's cheap, easy to implement and compelling to kids. This is where 100 Mile Club® comes in.
Is it also important to make kids feel like they're part of a larger campaign?
Absolutely! And this is why we are so supportive of the 100 Mile Club®. The 100 Mile Club® challenges kids to run (or walk) 100 miles in a school year. If you think about it, there's approximately 180 days in a school year, so this is very do-able. During the Race Across the USA, we are challenging classrooms to run across the USA along with us. While they won't be physically on the highways with us, they can run as a group and challenge themselves to accumulate miles together and run the equivalent of the country (3,080 miles) with us at the same time we are. A classroom of thirty or so kids running approximately a mile a day each should be able to keep up with the Race Across the USA athletes. Classrooms can organize their own transcon using WorldWalking.org and selecting the Race Across USA route. We are hoping that this simple challenge will be the spark of something that lasts into their adult years effectively turning the tide of childhood (and eventually adult) obesity.
I heard that the 100 Mile Club now has programs in Canada, New Zealand and Japan.
A recent study of 188 countries showed that nearly 30 percent of the global population, or 2.1 billion people, are either overweight or obese. Not a single country has lowered its obesity rate since 1980. So, we are not talking about a U.S. only problem. It is worldwide and getting worse even in the developing world. Depending on the success of this event, I could see other races in the future either here in the U.S. or abroad.
I’m not a runner myself, but how can those who are get involved? Is there a way for us all to track your progress?
There are several ways to you get involved. One is to let your runner friends know about this event. We have events as short as 2 days (Race Across Louisiana) and as long as 22 days (Race Across Texas). We have also designed four-day events that have been schedule around weekends for those who can only get a few days off work. The other way is to give. All proceeds raised go to the 100 Mile Club®, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. And, yes, you can follow us several ways. First, we have an interactive map on the home page of our website. During, you will see a tiny runner who will move left to right across the USA during the race. We will also be using Facebook,Twitter and Instagram to document our journey.
Thanks for spreading the word about Race Across the USA. Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes. We would like to challenge everyone to get at least 150 minutes of moderate to intensity aerobic activity every week. This could be brisk walking or running. When we start our run across the country, find our route on WorldWalking.org and get started! There's a short video about our journey on the website.
Darren Van Soye
Co-Race Director, Race Across the USA
Darren Van Soye