Monday, November 19, 2012

What inspires me? My firsthand account joining 18 year old Rae Heim on the last three days of her barefoot run across America.

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Early in the summer I heard about some 18 year old girl named Rae who running across the country Barefoot promoting raising funds and collecting shoe donations for 
 I thought it was a pretty damn audacious endeavor to attempt. (I wish I was that tough) Throughout the summer I would hear occasional updates on her run and was amazed at how long a journey like that actually is.  Then a few weeks ago I got an email from Barefoot Ken Bob that Rae was almost done and get this, she was finishing in my hometown at the Manhattan Beach Pier and she would love to have some runners join her along the way.  Then last week in my Local paper there was an article about Rae.  Random acquaintances of mine kept asking me if I knew that girl.
"Not Yet, but I can't wait to meet her"
It's pretty hard to drag my ass off the beach to go running but this was an opportunity to cool to pass up.  I'd been in San Diego over the weekend for the Krispy Kreme Challenge (race report coming soon) And figured out late Sunday night where I could join in.

Ray was eager to get started. 
After about a mile we finally caught up with her.

My first impression of Rae was "Wow this chick is pretty mature. " But I guess an adventure like this makes you grow up fast and well I guess an assumption of maturity from dude like myself who is seriously deficient in it maybe isn't saying to much."  
Our conversations ranged from if she'd stepped in poop or roadkill (no and yes) to what states were really cool and which were boring (Colorado and Utah)
I also asked Rae if she had thought about starting smoking now that she had turned 18?
(The question did not even warrant an answer.)
It takes a good attitude to complete a run like this and after running with Rae it was easy to see why her run was so successful.
" You don't have to fast But you have to be fearless."
Ray got this mantra tatted on her feet during her journey
(But I get scared when I run slow?)
 Barefoot Ken Bob, Rae, Don, Me.
What a great way to spend the morning 
Later that evening I went on another run (this time on the beach) and took this picture so Rae could see what her finish line looked like.  (i get to see this site nearly every day.

Rae only had two days left to run!  I keep a pretty fly by the seat of my pants schedule and decided to tag along and chronicle the event, besides If I wasn't running with Rae I'd be running somewhere else.

A couple of Rae's sisters surprised her by showing up run the last few legs of the course
At the at the start of Tuesday's tun was Paul Both a dude that also has ran across the country and whom is recovering from a pretty horrific accident he suffered while riding his bike self supported across the country earlier this summer.  Standing behind him is another amazing dude Jim McCord who in 2002 ran across the United States raising money for Diabetic research.
Also joining the group were my good friends Shacky Vanessa and Ginger
We started with a few miles on the same bike path we ran the day prior 
Heading into the concrete jungle
I wonder how many stairs it takes to run across the country?
David, Rae, Jim
You may notice that Rae is wearing Vibrams in this pic.  Her run was never totally about running barefoot although press and may lead you to believe this.  It just so happens Rae  loves running that way.  She told me that she would wear her Vibrams every sixth day to give her feet a break.
I was getting hungry so I stopped at a street vendor for some "Fast Food"
"No need to slow down I'll catch up."
(nothing like running down the mean streets of Compton chowing down on watermelon and cucumber)
 Ken Bob had rerouted the course so that he could return some movies along the way
He was shocked when the late charges tallied over $4,000
(sorry enough with shenanigans back to Rae's run)
Mom joined in for the last few miles of the day
Rae had her mom to hug, Shacky had Vanessa and I had Barefoot KenBob.

It was really special to see Rae running with her mom.  There was a lot of love shared between the two of them.
Group shot
Family shot
Barefoot Buddies
Shacky, Ken Bob, Myself and David
Rae cleans up pretty nicely :)
Later that night there was a party at a local pizza joint in Rae's honor.  I brought my camera but forgot to take pictures until I was about to leave so this is what you get.
People from all over country that supported Rae on her run showed up to surprise her.  They even made her a cake depicting Boston and a bunch of cupcakes with footprints on them leading to another cake depicting Manhattan Beach.
Film maker Steve Kroschel  took some "foot"age for an upcoming  Documentary about "Grounding"  He was a really interesting guy and when I searched his name on Google to find out more about him it took me to a friend's blog Sterling Noren whom I met in the Copper Canyons and who is working on a documentary about  Caballo Blanco.
(small world)
 Welcome to My Hometown of Manhattan Beach.
Rae's boyfriend Adam wheeled his way along final 6 miles.  Rae was so impressed with his efforts up the final hill she gave him a flower.

Go Rae!
You could smell the saltwater in the air as Rae crested the hill and got her first view of the Pacific.
A crowd  of friends, family and media awaited Rae at the base of the Manhattan Beach pier. but she didn't want stop just yet.
At the end  of the pier Rae's mom presented her with a medal and a couple tears were shed.
 Back at the base of the Pier Rae was met with a lot love. Skechers donated $1,000  and gave some shoes (probably going straight to charity) and few people shared heart warming stories on how Rae's run had inspired them.  But once again the coolest part was seeing the love and support that Rae had from her family.
 The CEO of Soles4Souls  Buddy Teaster flew in from Texas to run the final leg with Rae.  He is a fellow Ultra-runner and I was stoked to share stories to make a new friend.
Rae said she was inspired by Marshall Ulrich.  I'm inspired by 
Rae Heim!
You can't run all the was and not jump in the ocean
Although Rae's run is over it doesn't her charity could still use any donations you can afford
More on info on the rest of journey can be found here
Thanks for showing us what's possible if you dare follow your dreams.
 Life is Good!


  1. Way toooo cool...
    Great job putting this together and
    it was wonderful meeting and running with ya...
    Hope we get to do it again!

  2. That was an awesome account, especially since I wasn't able to be there on Wednesday. It was great meeting you and everyone. Rae and her family really are incredible!