There are marathons and ultras. And then there’s Pat Sweeney’s personal challenge – a 5,000km run across America. The real-life Forrest Gump has been running steadily since January and is hoping to complete his epic west-to-east mission mid May in Boston. He tells us he’s having a great adventure and meeting some interesting characters along the way – including Elvis and several snakes…
“I have picked up my mileage and am trying to now average around 40 miles (64 km) a day and even ran over 50 (80 km) on back to back days. The weather is getting better and my spirits are up. I ran through Arkansas then across the Mississippi river and up the Blues highway to Memphis Tennessee. I stopped at Graceland to see Elvis and am currently just south of Nashville.”
Staying hydrated is vital to staying the distance. ©Pat Sweeney
He adds: “Last week a sheriff in Mississippi let me stay in a tornado shelter when the weather was good. Then a couple days ago while in Tennessee there were actual tornado warnings in the area I was running. Storms come out of nowhere and I have got stuck in the hail a few times. It's now spring so it's fun to be outside and see the seasons change. Flowers are blossoming animals are getting frisky and I have seen seven snakes in the last two days.”
Time to run – Sweeney enters the deep south.
The Suunto supported runner is now clocking over 200 miles a week. “My body is tired and fatigued but I keep trudging along with a smile and look forward to each days adventure.
I'm hoping now to finish my run in Boston by running the Boston Marathon course since I will be missing this year’s race. I should get there around May 10th if all goes well. It should be a lot of fun.”