Epic Multistage Ultramarathon Across the USA

Logo512One of the ideas that my wife, Sandy and I considered even before we left for Trekking the Planet was to create a charity ultramarathon across the USA.  When I originally approached Kara Lubin, founder of the 100 Mile Club® about the idea, she got really excited and agreed to bring the issue before the board.

Sandy and I spent the next few weeks putting together an outline of the event.  We first developed the route across the US, starting at the headquarters of the 100 Mile Club® in California and ending at the White House in Washington DC, 3,000 miles away.  Counting the number of days, I realized that this was the equivalent of 120 back-to-back marathons.  Even I started to question my sanity!

Turning to the calendar, we quickly determined that there was little chance of holding the event during the 2013/2014 school year – there just wasn’t enough time.  Looking further out, we settled on January 16, 2015 as the start date of the ultramarathon because it allowed the runners to complete the event while traditional school was still in session, and before it got too hot on the East Coast.

While there is a competitive aspect to the Race Across USA, the organizational goals for this event are threefold:

  1. Raise awareness about the “inactivity” epidemic in young people
  2. Raise funds to sponsor students who cannot afford the cost of the 100 Mile Club® (it costs $10 per student per year to pay for administration, postage and the incentives)
  3. Visit as many schools along the route as possible with the hope of inspiring the launch of new 100 Mile Clubs

On that fateful day, I drove to the headquarters of the 100 Mile Club® for the board meeting.  I felt prepared and confident.  However, based on 25 years in the corporate world, I knew a meeting like this could go “sideways” pretty quickly.  This was big!  Some people might even call it “crazy”.

The board meeting reminded me of an endurance event.  There were so many important issues discussed that night that I thought I might be asked to present at the next board meeting.  But, before I knew it, I had the floor.

Kara was gracious in her introduction of the idea.  She again called it “worthwhile” and “exciting”.  Even though Kara is the Founder and CEO of the 100 Mile Club®, she looks to her board for guidance on all major decisions.

After some discussion, I raised my hand and stated my goal was to gain “permission to proceed”.  To my delight, the board member on my right brought forward a motion and the board member across from me seconded it.  It passed!  This moment was pure joy.  I hope it was clear to everyone how appreciative I was for their support.

Immediately after the meeting, I called by good friend, Dan and asked if he was interested in competing in the event.  He replied that he was “in 100%”.  I asked if he meant just through Texas, his home state or the coast to coast ultramarathon.  He replied “Both!” and added, “They are almost the same thing!”  I roared with laughter! It was heartening to see such a deep commitment so early in the project.

As I write this, we are in the process of building the ultramarathon core team, developing application forms, searching for sponsors and determining the best way of contacting schools along the route.

Support the Ultramarathon

If you are an experienced marathon or ultramarathon runner and are interested running the USA from coast to coast starting January 16, 2015, please contact me at racedirector@raceacrossusa.org so that we can begin the conversation about becoming part of the core ultramarathon team.  I am also interested in speaking with anyone who would like to help, either as a volunteer or sponsor.

More Information about the 100 Mile Club®

The 100 Mile Club® is a non-profit organization dedicated to getting children to run 100 miles over the course of the school year.  You can read more about it at 100 Mile Club®. Every year, 100 Mile Club® hosts two ultramarathon events – the 100-Mile Endurance Challenge in October and the Run 4 Kids – 24 hours in March.

More Information about the Race Across USA

The route of the Race Across USA ultramarathon covers the country, coast to coast, passing through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC.  You can read more about this epic ultramarathon at Race Across USA.

View RAUSA Route Map v2 in a larger map

Darren Van Soye

Darren started programming computers when he was 16. Because of his intense interest, he applied for and was accepted to UC Irvine's Computer Science program. Now, after 25 years in the High Tech industry, his passion has turned to high-leverage projects that bring about sustainable improvement in the areas of health, economic empowerment and education.

One thought on “Epic Multistage Ultramarathon Across the USA

  • July 1, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Im in Darren, you know I am


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