Montana Man Runs Across America...Solo
Only the 7th person to successfully run across the continent without a support crew.
Posted Wednesday, 15 November, 2006
On October 20, 2006, Paul Staso of Missoula, Montana, completed a 3,260-mile solo run across the United States. The trek began at Cannon Beach, Oregon and ended 108 running days later at Cape Henlopen State Park on the Delaware coast. Averaging 30 miles per day, pushing all of his required gear, water and food in an Ironman jogging stroller, he became the 7th person to successfully run across the continent without a support crew. The jogging stroller was kindly provided by BOB Trailers, Inc. of Boise, Idaho. His journey took him through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland (and Washington D.C.), and Delaware. A total of 15 states.
The trek, termed "P.A.C.E. Run 2006", was the direct result of a
Running and walking effort by 97 students at Russell Elementary School in Missoula where Staso’s wife, Vicki, is the physical education teacher. During a bedtime discussion in June 2005, he and his 11-year-old daughter, Ashlin, came up with the idea to have the 4th and 5th grade students at her school do a virtual trek across America by adding their combined walking and running mileage in P.E. class. To encourage the students toward success, Staso promised the classes that if either could succeed within one school year, then he would run their coast-to-coast route for real. Both classes completed the challenge by the end of the school year, and Paul began running across America on June 23, 2006
The trek gave Staso a wonderful opportunity to increase awareness in children about the importance of health and fitness, and to encourage schools to implement a virtual ‘run/walk across America curriculum’. As he crossed the country he spoke with students, athletes, teachers, running clubs, and others about the purpose of his journey and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. "My aim was to show what a promise looks like in action; what t means to be fully committed to something; and, to encourage kids across he nation toward greater health and fitness," Staso said. "If you take care of your body it can take you on some wonderful adventures."
The 41-year-old Montanan is a small business owner and former fifth Grade teacher. He trained throughout the 2005-2006 school year in preparation for his trans-continental crossing. "While the kids were running in PE. class, I was preparing through the seasons of Montana," he said. "When I saw the kids running outside in the snow, in zero degree weather, I knew that they were truly determined to put me onto America’s highways."
Staso went into the trek with experience in ultra-endurance running. He first attempted a run across America in 1986, but injury put an end to that adventure. However, his attempt this summer was successful. The grueling trek took him over the Northern Rocky Mountains, traversing barren plains, into numerous towns and cities, across the steep Appalachian Mountain range, and through the second hottest summer ever recorded in U.S. history.
The jogging stroller added to the discomfort caused by the steep hills and extreme heat. It contained a 65 pound ‘passenger’ of supplies: a maximum of 2 1/2 gallons of water, food, tent, sleeping bag, solar panel (for charging his GPS, satellite phone, and cell phone), and other essentials. The route was carefully planned before the journey began and some of Staso’s friends in Missoula arranged lodging for him. "I stayed in homes, hotels, motor homes, and a variety of places," he said. "In fact, I never had to use my tent at all."
"By what I understand, my solo run across America followed the most northerly route ever taken by a trans-con runner," Staso said. "With the record breaking heat and the desolate locations in many areas leading up to Minnesota, it was a huge mental and physical challenge."
Paul is available for presentations at schools and other places where a message about his trek and the importance of youth health and fitness is appropriate. He began running when he was in the fifth grade and enjoys encouraging kids to be more conscious of their overall health and fitness.
For details, pictures and daily journal entries about Paul’s trek,
To learn more about the students’ virtual trek across America, visit