第２章 – アリゾナ州
2015年5月2日 – 5月11日（10日間）
第8日 – 第17日
黄色いシャツ – アリゾナ州突入
銀行のLEDディスプレイが目に入る。“5月2日（土）／12時10分／温度100度” つまり摂氏38度だ。坂もきつくなり走れなくなった。午前のゴールであるウォルマートに何とか辿り着いた。午後12時30分、アスファルトに蓄積された熱から逃げるように、RV（キャンピングカー、Residential Vehicle）のドアを開けて倒れ込んだ。午前中の距離は何とか42KMに達した。
針葉樹に彩られた人口約3,000人のウィリアムズをルート66が貫く。グランドキャニオン玄関街の香りがする。トレッキングをアレンジするツアー会社、豊富なアウトドアグッズを扱うショップ等が軒を並べる。17時20分に、距離70KMでこの日のゴール。グレッグと力一杯握手をして、3人の無事と健闘を祝った。針葉樹の香りがする美しいCanyon Motel & RV Parkで宿泊だ。3人で街に繰り出し、山小屋風の洒落たレストランで、メキシカン料理を堪能した。
この街は、イーグルスが歌うTake It Easyに出てくることで有名だ。誰もいない早朝の街の広場だが、イーグルスの曲が流れている。広場のギフトショップで、ルート66全8州の標識を購入した。ルート66を全行程走破したら、バンコクの店を飾ってもらう予定だ。RVに戻り、ドライストロベリーのシリアルにアーモンドミルクをかけて食べる。僕は幼少からシリアルが大好きだ。シリアル天国のアメリカで、いろんな種類を楽しんでいる。
RVを出ると直ぐに、La Posada Hotelがその美しすぎる姿を現した。1900年初頭、事業家ハーヴィーがサンタフェ鉄道会社と協同で、駅併設のホテルとレストランを全国展開。それがハーヴィーハウスだ。レストラン、ホテル等にリニューアルされ輝きを放ち続けるハウスが全米にいくつか有る。La Posadaはその一つで、アメリカ国家歴史登録材だ。
青いシャツ – アリゾナ州突破
さあ、昼休み明け。アリゾナ州最後の14KMランだ。Singapore Barefoot Minimalist Groupのシャツを着る。僕も会員の一人で、このランニングクラブはアメリカ横断プロジェクトの応援組織でもある。過度な機能の付いたシューズ等のモノに極力頼らないスタイルを目指している。ライフスタイルもミニマルだ。リーダーのジョーさんを始めメンバーの優しさは際立っている。
SPECIAL THANKS to Mr. Iain White, my best friend, CEO of I & I.
Chapter 2 – Arizona “Grand Canyon State”
May 2 – May 11, 2015 (10 days)
Day 8 – Day 17
Distance crossing state : 408 miles (657 Kms)
Accumulated distance : 719 Miles (1,158 Kms)
A Proud Yellow Shirt – Entering Arizona
I have just run into Arizona, crossing the border from California. It is 7 a.m. on Day 8, Saturday May 2nd. It is still early in the morning, however the temperature has already reached 86 degrees Fahrenheit. (30 degrees Celsius) And, the humidity is only 10%!!! Even the lizards have started to hide under the rocks. I have put as much sun protection lotion on my skin as possible; conscious however that in these conditions it will evaporate into the air, quickly.
My life as been blessed with many homes and many friends, prominent among them the USA, Thailand my current home and Japan my birth country. Today, across the globe, in Japan, Katayama-san, my ultra-running “soul brother” is running a 140Km (87 miles) race. That is the longest distance he has run in his life.
Katayama-san is Chief Professor of the Faculty of Anthropology at Seinan Gakuin University, Kyushu, Japan. He is both a master and my master in all aspects of human beings, combining knowledge with wisdom. Although we are thousands of miles and millions of steps apart, our feet and hearts are connected and I try to focus on each of my steps, how I place it, how it feels, how I love the earth and what love it gives me back. In doing this I often tap into conversations with Katayama-san in my mind, some ones we have had and some that seem to just spring to mind as we run step by step separated in some ways but together in so many more. That means I am not just concentrated on my running alone, though these types of kind thoughts are good, because they create positive energy.
I have received so much support from Katayama-san in so many ways, both practical and emotional. He has purchased many of my USA Cross Run Project T-shirts and wristbands. He has given me lots of encouragement with his words of kindness and friendship.
Katayama-san is vice-president of Tenku Roppu Running Club in Kyushu, Japan. All the members, including Iwakiri-san, president of this running club, are kind and warm. Now, I am running across this part of Arizona, wearing Tenku Roppu’s Club yellow shirt. The warmth and generosity of its members is making my first steps into a new State easier.
Loosing pace in the afternoon
Over five hours have gone by. I can barely believe the LED display “May 2 / Saturday / 12:10 p.m. / 100 degrees F”.
Running in 86F conditions was hard, though positive thoughts created a positive momentum that allowed me to push on and cover the equivalent of a full marathon that morning.
In those five hours the temperature had risen to 100F, the sun is now directly overhead so no part of my body enjoyed shade and to make things worse the hill we were on had become too steep to run up. I needed to get off the asphalt, its black surface reinforced the heat through my minimalist shoes and at times I wasn’t sure if the road was melting or if my shoes were, or some combination of the two.
At 12:30 p.m. we reached what seemed like a modern day oasis in the desert … Wal-Mart. Neung and Greg were waiting for me in the RV (Recreational Vehicle) with food, drink, change of clothes and enough to keep me cool physically and mentally while I regained my inner-balance for a short while.
As hot as it has been, I was pretty much on target for the day, just exhausted from the heat. Most days we had been covering 43.5 miles (70 Kms) each day, 26.1 miles/42km in the morning and an additional 17.4 miles (28 Kms) in the afternoon aiming to finish around 6p.m..
After our lunch break, Greg started running with me. Greg is a champ in more ways than one. Both as a friend and as a runner. He doesn’t ask if I want running company, he doesn’t spread doubt or concern, however justified by asking things like “Are you ok?” or “You look tired”, he just gets up, puts his shoes on and joins in the running when he sees that some company would help and at the same time when its not needed or I’m in a head-place where being by myself for a little way is best he discretely stays in the background. Athletically he is also a champ – USA Masters National Champ at several long distances!
At 6:16 p.m., we reached the 37.5 miles point, about 7 miles less than I had planned by this time. I had started to feel difficulty in bending my ankle after lunch. I had tried sitting down, in the middle of the sharp steep hill but nothing seemed to help. Each time I got up I fought on, but the pain and stiffness was getting worse not easing up. I wanted to keep going, I would count my steps, 1-2-3-4-5, up t0 a 100 staring down at the ground trying to avoid looking at the never ending steepness of the hill. My neck and shoulders were joining in the pain in my foot, as more and more of my body was contracting, trying to avoid the scene of the endless hill ahead. In Japan we hate to give in and talk about “fall down seven times, get up eight”, that afternoon it felt like I had gotten up 888 times but eventually I had to accept what was and surrender to fight another day.
I got into our RV, and now I am sitting on the sofa, without saying anything. It must have seemed bizarre. Neung, my wife and Greg, my dear buddy, know that silence is the best thing for now. For me, this was just like being picked up by a sweeper, you know the vehicle that collects the over-slow, retired, or injured runners in a marathon race. We checked into a RV park. After taking a shower, we sat down by the Colorado River, watching the sun goes down. On the other side of the river, we can see Laughlin, Nevada. As the sun goes down, at last my spirits rise, I say to myself that I have been lucky that I wasn’t melted or killed by today’s Arizonan heat.
Sunday May 3, Day 9 since our start.
At 5:37 a.m., I have finally started running. In the morning, we will arrive at Kingman, Arizona. The next couple of days are going to be a bit different as we plan to come back to revisit Kingman again tomorrow to meet Mr. Jim Hinckely, a well-known writer and historian of Route 66.
After two hours and thirty minutes of running, I’ve covered 7.5 miles (12 Kms). It might not sound huge, but I’ve finally run up to the summit of that sharp steep hill, which gave me so much difficulty yesterday. I don’t know how Hannibal felt crossing the alps, but I know how I feel … victorious! It is 3,556 feet (1,084 meters) above sea level here. That means I have run up 2,028 feet (618 meters) on the west side of this hill. At the top of the hill, where I can see the valley in the east, Neung, my lovely wife, is waiting with a delicious vegan sandwich she has made for me. A great way to celebrate! Then, I have run down 2,684 feet (818 meters), to the bottom of the valley. Again, I have to run up to 3,745 feet (1,142 meters), to reach Kingman. In total I have run 26.7 miles (43 Kms), over a hilly marathon, in 6 hours and 45 minutes. Now, I can run again. Yesterday, I thought I couldn’t run any more.
Now, I am running along Route 66, itself the main street of Kingman. On the right side, I can see a beautiful brick building, The Mohave Museum of History and Arts. Then, Kingman Railway Station, built in 1909, is still there to welcome me. On the other side of the road, my favorite Hotel Brunswick, is asking me whether I have time to stop for a while or not.
This time, because I am running, I can observe and feel this town deeply. I have driven through Kingman’s main street a couple of times in the past. Traveling by automobile or any fast vehicle is very convenient, however it is like hopping from one spot to another. We can see the spots conveniently, however it is difficult to see and touch anything between the spots. On the other hand, when we travel on foot, like running, we can enjoy watching the town slowly, drawing the line between each spot. Also, if we use our five senses fully, we can enjoy this drawing in everything around us more deeply and with more appreciation for the past, and present and future.
A Half day run
Day 10. Monday May 4.
Today is one of our planned one-day holidays. It is our plan that we will have an occasional one day holiday, in total six days off from coast-to-coast. Our planned holidays are important, not only for me, but also for Greg and Neung. We will use these holidays to make sure the other days go smoothly, not just in the running but to purchase groceries, have our RV checked and also to visit friends on route.
Things don’t always go exactly to plan.
In hindsight, it might seem obvious, but with variable climate, variable altitudes as well as variable energy levels, each day’s performance is not exactly the same as each other, or as planned. So far I have lost 12.4 miles (20 Kms) in the past nine days against my plan. Therefore, even though this was a planned “holiday”, I have decided to run at least 12.4 miles (20 Kms) today in order to catch up with the lost distance. I started running at 5 a.m., as usual. I feel very easy, because it is just 12.4 miles (20 Kms) run. As it is not a full running day, I thought I would run 12.4 miles (20 Kms) in around four hours. However, without any sense of pressure on me, I discover I have actually run 19.9 miles (32 Kms) in 4 hours and 30 minutes. Now, we have more than caught up with the loss. I know it is still Day 10, with 70 days more to go, but I am feeling much better now.
Mr. Jim Hinckley
I have got to know Jim-san, thanks to Toshi’s introduction. Toshi has been working hard setting up the Route 66 Association of Japan, finally launched on June 6, this year. Toshi lived in USA for many years and he has lots of connections with people on Route 66. He is the perfect person to be the chairman of this new Route 66 Association, with his connections, popularity and virtuous and unselfish character, plus his enthusiasm is infectious!
At 5 p.m. in the evening, Jim-san showed up at a local popular Italian restaurant, Garlic Cove, with his wife and two of his friends. We three, Greg, Neung and I, got the biggest welcome with their beautiful smiles. Jim-san also invited Mr. Hubble, a reporter from Kingman Daily Miner, a local Kingman newspaper. (for article, please click THIS.)
Over dinner, we get talking about the Bunion Derby Race, the first international crossing USA race in 1928. 199 runners ran from Los Angeles to Chicago, tracing Route 66, then on to New York. The winner of this race was Andy Payne, a Cherokee Indian, from Foyil, Oklahoma. I want to know what he was thinking of, when he was running across USA. That is why I am running the same course, which he ran 88 years ago. Jim-san is sharing lots of interesting stories about Andy Payne with us. I will run to Foyil, 1,243 miles (2,000 Kms) east from here, to see the statue of Andy Payne running in his hometown.
Jim-san has helped us make new connections with lots of kind and warm people on and related to Route 66.
As an author and very kind one, Jim gave us a copy of his book on Route 66, its doubly precious as Jim-san’s autographed it for us …
“To K and Neung, A souvenir of the dream chasing adventure. From Jim”
Day 11. Tuesday May 5.
I have started to run at 4:59 a.m..
In between Route 66’s segment from Kingman to Seligman, I feel something quite mystical. This area is known as the land of the Hualapai Nation, where the people of the Hualapai Tribe live.
It is said that there are more than 500 Native American Indian Tribes in America, and the Hualapai is one of them. This time, in running across the USA, I will run across 13 states. However, the way I count these 13 states is based on how the Federal Government of the United States does. There are some Indian Tribes, who call their territory “nation.” Some of these tribes have their own culture, government, parliament and time zones.
Today, I have felt so light and refreshed. After running 49.7 miles (80 Kms), I have arrived at Seligman, Arizona, at 4:26 p.m. in the evening.
At a local diner, named Snow Cap, I have ordered my vegan burger. I really enjoyed the local American diner’s taste. Greg talked to the manager of Snow Cap, and he kindly invited us to park our RV in their parking lot.
Feeling Grand Canyon
Day 12. Wednesday May 6.
Greg’s alarm clock works well. At 4 a.m., it has successfully woken us all up, again.
Our final destination of the day is Williams, Grand Canyon’s gate town. Today, I am going up to 6,989 feet. (2,130 meters) If I run up to that elevation at once, I am afraid of getting altitude sickness. However, I feel easy, because I have been running in the highlands the past few days.
After a lunch break, I keep on climbing up on route I-40. The higher I climb, the deeper the needle-leaved forest becomes. The traffic sign “Grand Canyon” attracts me to want to visit there. However, the Grand Canyon National Park is 62 miles (100 Kms) up north. Right now, we are heading east, New York, not north.
(Remarks : I-40 means Interstate-40. Interstate is the highway system, connecting States. The maximum speed limit in Arizona is 75 miles (120 Kms) per hour, and it is limited for vehicles. Where Route 66 was replaced by I-40, Greg successfully asked for the local highway department’s permission for me to run on I-40.)
Route 66 runs through the main street of Williams (population around 3,000), beautifully decorated by needle-leaved trees. This place has the taste of the Grand Canyon’s gate town. On the street, I can see tour companies, which arrange trekking in the Grand Canyon, or outdoor shops, which sell various kinds of outdoor activity equipment. At 5:20 p.m., I have finished running with the planned daily distance of 44 miles (70 Kms) covered. Greg and I have shaken our hands firmly, celebrating our safety and efforts of the day. Tonight, we are staying at Canyon Motel & RV Park, with its refreshing aroma from the nearby needle-leaved forest. After checking in, all three of us hop out of the RV park, and hit the town of Williams. We enjoyed a Mexican dinner in a beautifully decorated wooden house style restaurant.
Day 13. Thursday May 7, I could start running at 4:59 a.m..
After around two weeks, our travel life has started to work into a routine.
Most mornings now I can make a 5 a.m. start. This is all thanks to Greg and Neung’s sincere efforts. The current temperature in Williams, with its elevation of 6,760 feet (2,060 meters), is 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius). It is not freezing but with two of us living in Bangkok and Greg in-between Maui and S.California, it feels like it! Anyway, with the help of thick winter jackets and a head torch light, I am making steps eastward.
The air is so fresh and crisp here. I kept on running east on the super fast I-40. At 11:30 a.m., I have arrived at the west end of Flagstaff. SUUNTO’s GPS watch (a sponsorship item) is showing that the altitude is now 7,410 feet (2,259 meters). This is exactly the highest point in all of my planned USA cross run route, and the highest point of the entire Route 66.
Now, we are running through the “illusionary zone,” surrounded by lots of 30 foot tall needle-leaved trees. Greg and I have run in so many different places in these 13 days, but this has become one of the most memorable 5 Km runs. As the sun plays between the trees and leaves it also plays between the cells in our brains and a light euphoria lifts us higher, maybe higher than the peaks we are running across.
Now, I have gotten out of I-40, and I am running along Route 66 again, through downtown Flagstaff, still heading east. It is a beautiful town. I see lots of stylish cafes along the well-maintained street. Behind the town, at the north side, I can see a beautiful mountain, with its top decorated with pure white snow. That is Humphrey’s Peak, Arizona’s highest point, with its elevation of 12,633 feet. (3,850 meters) To put it in context that’s higher than Mt. Fuji and almost half the height of Everest!
Another Firm handshake
Day 14. Friday May 8.
We could start at 5 a.m. sharp again today. A good habit.
Today, I am going to meet Mr. Bob Young.
In March, just one month before my trip to USA, I received an email from a newspaper, the Arizona Republic. “We would like to do an email interview with you about your running across the USA.”
It was Bob-san, who sent that email to me. He is also a runner and as runners, we immediately understood each other, and exchanged emails. That interview article was posted on April 9th.
We started to run together around 10 miles (16 Kms) , from Winona’s Shell Gas Station, where we met.
“There are many USA cross run’s websites,” Bob-san says, running on the right side of me.
“But, sadly, many of them are publicity stunts. Some do this, just wanting to be famous, and I can immediately tell that kind of website.”
“I could tell your website was real. That’s why I emailed you.”
I felt something warm from inside of me, listening to what Bob-san was saying.
In Twin Arrows, Bob-san and I shook hands firmly, and we promised to meet again. A firm handshake is one of my favorite customs, which I have learnt from American people. As you might know most Asian cultures tend to touch less and bow, nod or smile instead.
It is 3:58 p.m. now. I have run 43 miles (69 Kms), and have ended up somewhere in the desert in Arizona.
I feel a deeper bond with Route 66 and with the pioneers who made crossing this great continent possible. I feel so fortunate to be following in their footsteps and have the support of Neung, Greg and of so many others on various parts of my journey, on the road and in life, and to even make the idea possible.
Day 15. It’s Saturday May 9.
Today I started running at 5:07 a.m. I’m seven minutes late. You might think I’m a bit obsessional, but the truth is you have to be, to get the miles in, to avoid the worse of the sun and to be true to yourself and to others. I hate to admit it but this morning, I am not feeling “in the flow”. I have a big swelling in both my ankles. I can’t run any faster, because of the pain.
Last night in bed, I tossed and turned most the night, I couldn’t sleep well, and I was afraid that I might not be able to get up and run again in the morning.
In these past 15 days, I have had this recurring ankle trouble and pain, since I started out running from Santa Monica.
Natural Running, which I have been learning these past few years, defines pain this way: “Pain is made by our own bad movement. That means if we can correct our movement, we can erase the pain.”
I really believe this. Every day, I run 13 hours on the road, and each hour of each day I have been trying to correct my movement. So far however, I haven’t been able to erase the pain completely. Having said that though, without this Natural Running idea and technique, I would have given up running, because of the pain, probably by Day 3. I am sure I will find the right way – The Key – to move my body correctly and to erase the pain.
Today, again, on the road, I am having lots of conversations with my body, searching for the “The Key.” Also, I am making endless conversations with two of my great Natural Running Coaches, Mr. Tsuyoshi Yoshino and Mr. Shoji Takaoka. These conversations happen in my mind as I run. Although it is my feet doing the running it is the great guidance of my teachers that helps remove blockages in my mind and spirit. At some level we are all connected. We all breathe the same air and share the same earth to walk, run and treasure.
(Remark : Both Yoshino-san and Takaoka-san supported me, as USA cross run project members, too. Before and during the USA cross run, I have gotten devoted support from them.)
With this kind of condition, trying to learn from my pain rather than pour it out on my wonderful crew-team, Neung and Greg, sponsors, or friends; slowly but steadily, now I am running into Winslow.
Winslow is perhaps best known for The Eagles’s famous song “Take It Easy.” I’m not going to let the sound of my own thinking send me crazy, nor go looking for any girl on the corner though. It is still very early Saturday morning, I cannot see anybody, except the three amigos, us, in the town’s small square. In my inner ear I can hear my favorite Eagles’ song playing comfortably and I hum a line or two, Greg recognizes it and joins in, adding some lyrics and the three are in stitches of laughter, the ankle pain forgotten, at least temporarily.
At one of the square’s gift shops, surprisingly open at this early time of morning, we purchased eight different States’ Route 66 traffic metal signs. If I can finish running the entire Route 66, I will put these Route 66 signs on the wall of my cafe back in Bangkok. I’m such a fan of Route 66 and completing the route will make that bond only deeper.
Now, I am back inside our warm and comfortable RV, and I am having dried-strawberry brown rice cereal with almond milk, as my second breakfast of the day. I have loved cereal since I was a little kid. America is cereal heaven for me. I’m no angel, but on this crossing I get to indulge my cereal passion by enjoying all sorts of varieties, everyday! How good is that?!
Now, I am ready to run out east again, satisfied and fueled with crispy cereal and hot decaf coffee.
At the east end of Winslow, on the right hand side of Route 66 I run pass La Posada Hotel with its magnificent facade and beautiful design. La Posada Hotel has an interesting history; it is one of the original “Harvey Houses”. In the late 1800s, Mr. Fred Harvey, the owner of Fred Harvey Company, started the first chain of restaurants and hotels, under the Harvey House name. With the growth of rail travel they were located at or near train stations, such as Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Companies. Another innovation of the times, in 1883 Fred Harvey introduced “Harvey Girls”, neat, well-mannered, smart serving staff – this innovation became the subject first of a book and then a movie, staring Judy Garland in 1946. There are still some Houses, which have been carefully and beautifully renovated, as restaurants or hotels. La Posada is one of these Harvey Houses and is in theNational Register of Historic Places.
At 11:10 a.m., after running 24.9 miles (40 Kms) I declare the morning, at least for running, is over. We have made it to Joseph City. It’s a grand name for what in reality is a pretty small town with a population of just over 1,300 people! Now, we are having lunch break, parking our RV at the Jack Rabbit Trading Post, an American and Route 66 icon for almost 70 years.
It’s 12:50 p.m., I have started on my afternoon run. Holbrook is our final destination of the day, 17.4 miles (28 Kms) east of our lunch stop. Holbrook is the county seat of Navajo County, where many Navajo Tribal people live.
Today, while I am making my steps, I have been thinking of somebody, Ryuhei-san. Its natural my thoughts have been turning towards him as my feet are too. With a little luck I may be able to see him this weekend. We became Facebook friends, right after I started out on this running adventure, from Santa Monica. Ryuhei-san is actually living here in Arizona! I have felt something special and different in Ryuhei-san’s messages to me.
In the end, I missed meeting Ryuhei-san, but he taught me the most precious lesson in my life. I had not known that he would be that important to me, until one month after I got back at Bangkok after this USA cross run. I’ll tell you about it when the journey is over and I’m back reflecting on life, love, laughter and the precious learning this journey has given me.
I have gotten off of the I-40 spur from Route 66, and now I am running into the town of Holbrook. Our exact final destination is the famous “Wigwam Motel”, whose shape is a tipi, the American Indian cone-shaped tent. This tipi motel is one of the most important landmarks on Route 66, and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I have run 41.6 miles (67 Kms) today, which makes 1,000 Kms (621.4 miles) accumulated distance from Santa Monica. Thinking about it, that’s roughly 25 full marathons in 15 days. We decided to celebrate and Neung, Greg and I found a local diner. As tempted as I was I didn’t have cereal that night.
Running through the National Park
Day 16. Sunday May 10 : I started my 43.5-mile run (70 Kms) at 5:02 a.m. in the morning, heading north-east. It was 11:30 a.m., when I ran up to the main entrance of the Petrified Forest National Park. I have run exactly 26.1 miles, a full marathon, (42 Kms) in the morning. We decided to take a rest for two hours, a little bit longer than usual, and to use the time to enjoy a little sightseeing in the park.
We have paid the entrance fee for the three of us, and with time precious are keen to explore this unique natural forest. It’s a bit ironic to worry about time when the earliest tree fossils here date back about 225 million years and we just an hour or so to take so much wonder in. Here you can see, smell and feel the touch of America’s national park. It is beautiful, clean, well-managed and vast. I can see so many pieces of wood, which have been petrified for all eternity. This park was registered as a national park in 1962, 36 years after Route 66 was constructed. Right now, there are 59 national parks in USA. Yellow Stone was registered in 1872, which was the first national park in the USA and in the world.
In the evening, on I-40, I can see the traffic sign for the Navajo Travel Center. There is a Shell gas station, and five trailers are parked there. It is still early afternoon, 3:50 p.m. Today, I have run 66 Kms. (41 miles) It’s about 2.5 miles less than my goal, but at the same time I got to experience some of eternity. It seems a very good trade-off that I’ve benefited from. I also appreciate I have run safely and we have travelled here without any problems.
Not Feeling Blue in This Shirt – Completing Arizona
Day 17. Monday May 11. Today I will run along I-40 for 43.5 miles (70 Kms) north-east. Distance wise it sounds like a usual day. In fact it’s a very special day. Today I will complete running across Arizona!
It’s 4:39 a.m. now, here in Arizona. No, I’m not suffering from insomnia, but being a vast continent, the USA has different time zones and in New Mexico, where our final destination of the day is, it is already 5:39 a.m., one hour ahead of Arizona. I am making an early start to cover this one hour loss, well at least as much as possible without harming myself.
About five and a half hours later and I have run 25.5 miles (41 Kms), and am now in a small town called Allentown, we have decided to take a lunch break here. It is still 10:15 a.m.. The early start has worked out well.
After our lunch break, I am ready to make my last 8.7-mile (14 Km) run in Arizona which will get us to the border with New Mexico. For comfort and to express gratitude, I’ve changed my running shirt … now, I am wearing the blue shirt of Singapore Barefoot Minimalist Group. I am also a member of this running club, which is one of the official supporting organizations of my USA cross run. This club is creating awareness of minimal running style in Singapore, and doesn’t depend too much on external things, such as high-tech shoes with lots of functions. Many of the members of this club’s lifestyle are minimal, too. The truth is you can do a lot with a little, though a little kindness makes it go a lot further. The kindness of many of the members, including one of the founders, Mr. Joe Tan, of this running club is just outstanding.
Now, I can see the welcome sign of New Mexico. It is 1:50 p.m. here on the Arizona side, but beyond the welcome sign, it is 2:50 p.m. in New Mexico. Both Arizona and New Mexico are in Mountain Time Zone. However, New Mexico is applying the daylight saving system, while Arizona is not. Therefore, New Mexico is one hour ahead of Arizona. Neung, my wife, jokes with me and asks if its safe to cross the State line, she doesn’t want to age an hour instantly, I tell her don’t worry she will always be the same to me. All three of us hop across the line together.
It is day 17 since our start from Santa Monica Pier, I have finally run across Arizona. I have run 428 miles (688 Kms) in this state, and the total accumulated distance from Santa Monica is now 739 miles (1,189 Kms).
Most importantly, I feel happy that we three have arrived here safely, well and in good spirits.
This is all thanks to Greg and Neung, who have been supporting me for 24 hours each and every day. And, special thanks are due to Thomas too, my main sponsor of this project, who has been protecting the three of us with his huge and kind generosity. Although he isn’t on the road or in the RV he really is with us every step of the way, as well as before and after too! And, I don’t know how to appreciate more all of those sponsorship companies and friends, who have given me their unconditional love.
Next monthly column, on FEB 1, will be “Chapter 3 : New Mexico”.
2017 January 1
K (Atsuyuki Katsuyama)
Management member of Route 66 Association of Japan
Leader of Thailand 100 Miles Run Club
email : firstname.lastname@example.org