Every runner has a different motivation for running across the country. The genesis of my desire to run across the United States dates back to 2002. As I wrote in an article published in the April 2005 issue of Ultrarunning magazine, "I couldn't wait to log onto the Internet each day during the summers of 2002 and 2004 to read the latest on the two Run Across America races directed by Alan Firth. Alan's pictures and daily wrap-ups transported this excited reader to the actual race location." May I write half as well as Alan did.
The weather was gray and drizzly as we arrived at the Pacific Ocean for the start. The four starters, Jennifer Bradley, Justin Faulke, Marty Sprengelmeyer, and myself - Mike Samuelson - headed down to the ocean after posing for some pictures. After the customary steps into the ocean we headed to the small hill at the end of the beach to start. John Wallace who does a fantastic job with the USA Crossers Facebook page/group was present to take pictures and video of the start. The only other folks present were family and crew - Corky, Heidi, Karen, and Katy - who did an excellent job of taking care of the runners today. I wasn't there of course, but I thought of the Wright Brothers on that fateful December 17, 1903 for those first flights at the beach near Kitty Hawk, NC.
And we were off at 9:12. Due to the drizzle I wore my bright orange 2011 Arkansas Traveller 100 wind breaker and my bright yellow and blue 2012 Land Between the Lakes running cap - both super races who provide runners great swag. Jennifer and Justin headed out together and before mile four I lost sight of them. Marty was running behind me and I lost sight of him quickly also, but it was good to see his crew Corky when I would run by her. I love gray days and overcast skies so it shouldn't be a surprise to read that I was smiling most of the day. I ran at a comfortable pace for me which is about 12 minutes a mile when stoppage time to meet crew and the occasional walking break is thrown in. ABBAs smash hit Waterloo played in my head most of the day, but the real noise was made by all the passing cars. The surprise of the day was the percentage of cars that moved to the left when driving by to give me a wide berth - even though the shoulder was wide for most of the busy road on today's route. I waved to a number of vehicles that moved over to the left and Justin reported doing the same. When the cars weren't passing by I enjoyed the blissful silence. Washington - the Evergreen State - didn't disappoint with the scenery.
From April 2005, "I dare to dream, along with many others, that I will join the ranks of Trans-America finishers." Only 79 days to go!!!
Scorekeeper reports the below Day 1 finish times:
Note - more pictures coming tomorrow.