He Ran Across America — On Plants
“Just because something is hard in the beginning doesn't mean it's always going to be.”
Imagine running an ultramarathon. It’s a huge undertaking for anyone. And a bucket list dream for many.
Now imagine running an ultramarathon every day. A minimum of 40 miles, 75 days in a row. Starting in Los Angeles. Finishing in New York. A 3,200 mile transcontinental run.
This is the story of Robbie Balenger.
Just 6 years ago, Robbie laced up his first pair of running shoes to alleviate the stress he was experiencing managing a restaurant. A small act, that first run set in motion a chain of events that led to a passion for running long distances, followed by a purpose-driven mission promote a message — the power of a plant-based diet to fuel athletic performance. Prevent and reverse certain lifestyle maladies. Ameliorate suffering. And redress climate change.
What Robbie didn't expect? The many extraordinary ways running creates community. Unites people across the economic divide. And bridges the political differences that drive us apart.
I was unfamiliar with Robbie until an e-mail hit my inbox courtesy of my friend and former podcast guest, Olympic cyclist Dotsie Bausch (RRP 355). Her non-profit Switch4Good was sponsoring Robbie's attempt to cross the United States by foot. Would I be interested in helping to support their efforts? I jumped at the opportunity.
On March 16, I showed up at dawn in Huntington Beach to meet Robbie for the first time and help kick off his momentous attempt.
Running the first several miles alongside Robbie and a small crew of supporters, I immediately took to his earnest yet humble disposition. His passion for promoting the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. And his determination to reach New York a mere 75 days later.
We struck up a friendship that day. I kept keen tabs on his progress over the following months. And made him a promise:
Finish the run and you earn a seat at the podcast table.
All heart, he indeed finished it. Today I honor that promise. And it’s a great story, well told.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange as much as I relished having it.
Peace + Plants,
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