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Two Men, 3,000 Miles, One Country: Running Across America

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Marshall Ulrich and Charlie Engle are running across the country. Here, FITNESS asks why and how.

A Record-Breaking Run

I find it tough to even run a mile on the treadmill, so running for an entire day is just out of the question. I know I'm not alone on that one. So when I learned that two men were planning to run for 45 days straight, I thought "that's just madness." But nothing short of being taken away in an ambulance will stop Marshall Ulrich or Charlie Engle from running across the country this fall.

"I want to make people aware of how magnificent we are as a nation and that we have so many things in common outside of the current war and political debates," says Ulrich. Both Ulrich and Engle want to challenge their bodies; they're world-class athletes who have done multiple ultra-marathons and adventure races. But they also want to discover the real United States of America and reintroduce the country to the world.

Their ultimate cross-country road trip begins September 13, 2008; Ulrich and Engle will attempt to break a world record by running from San Francisco to New York City. The journey will be filmed for a documentary called Running America. Volunteers from all over the United States will join Ulrich and Engle as they go from coast to coast and town to town to find out what America and Americans like you and me are all about.

The idea for this record-breaking run came after Charlie Engle ran across the Sahara to raise awareness of the water crisis in Africa in February 2007. Engle started thinking about what he could do to benefit America. "I'm worried about our problem with childhood obesity," he said, "so I wanted to bring attention to that not by telling people what to do, but by showing commitment to the cause."

Marshall Ulrich, who raced with Engle in Vietnam and Fiji, said that since there is a deep history of ultra-running in America, "why not explore and bring out stories, pick a route that goes through small towns, and meet extraordinary people that make up the United States?"

Ulrich and Engle will run from San Francisco to New York, stopping in several towns along the way to find out what each town is known for, what special events are celebrated in that town, and -- of course -- where they can get a good meal.

Next:  How They Trained


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