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Robbie's Run Across America

$8,670 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 94 people in 2 months
Hi, I’m Robbie Balenger
I am going to run across the United States from Los Angeles to New York City, a total distance of 3,200 miles. My goal is to complete the run in 75 days, which means running an average of 43 miles per day. I am a 100% plant-based athlete who aims to promote a healthier lifestyle by creating conversations about food choices through personal interactions, social media, and a documentary film.

The Planting of a Seed
My inspiration to run across the United States was born last year after a trip to the Copper Canyons of Northern Mexico where I ran with the Tarahumara people. I was amazed at the richness of their intentional way of life. I began thinking about how better food choices and moving our bodies can lead us to harmony with ourselves and the environment.

To Run is To Grow
For me, running started as an outlet from the stresses of my demanding job in the restaurant industry. Now I find that running enhances my creativity and grounds me in ever deeper ways; when I’m with the sound of my own breath and focused only on the present moment, I am free to  grow into the best version of myself.

Beyond Running
In this journey of reconnecting with my roots and values, I have become increasingly in tune with my health and the impact I make on this planet. Thus, I have transitioned to a 100% plant-based diet and use running as a platform to promote wellness to my community and beyond. This lifestyle shift has aligned my daily decisions with the footprint I wish to leave behind on Earth. In light of many disturbing statistics such as the fact that 39% of American adults and 20% of children are obese, I can’t think of a more important mission than advocating for better food choices. Conscientious eating impacts personal health and  it is one of the most environmentally-friendly choices we can make as individuals.

About my Transcontinental Run
On March 15th, 2019, I’ll set out from Los Angeles with a small crew. In the 75 days to follow, I will run 25-60 miles a day. My route takes me first through the deserts of California, then across the canyons and plateaus of Arizona and New Mexico, then onto the open plains of Oklahoma and the Midwest, and finishes with the rolling hills of Pennsylvania that lead down to the coastal lowlands of New Jersey and New York. The crew will help me to eat between 8,000-10,000 calories a day, stay hydrated, and stay safe on the roads.

Sponsorships
My title sponsor is NadaMoo!, an Austin-based dairy-free ice cream company that has provided tremendous support in my plant-powered mission. Their partnership has been essential to the realization of this dream. I also have relationships with Switch4Good, Zeal Optics, Bobo’s oat bars, 22 Days Nutrition, Skratch Labs Natural Hydration, Hemp Daddy's, and Whole Earth Provision Company. Each of these brands has agreed to provide me with necessary products and promotion. I am so grateful to have them join me on this journey. I would also like to give a shoutout to Bufalina Pizza  for helping me to secure my primary support crew vehicle, and to Carroll Voss at Overland Race Management  for being a mentor and generous supporter.

Your Support
Even with my sponsorships, there are still needs that you can help me meet. Many friends have approached me asking how they can help me with this project, knowing that they are not able to physically join me. I am excited to include my communities in this plant-powered mission and my transcontinental run. The support of friends and family in this epic event will lift my spirits, keep me motivated, and help me feel connected to a greater community even in the darkest hours. Your contribution will go a long way to help me make a positive impact with this mission and provide me with an even greater sense of purpose with each step.

Documentary Film
A big part of my vision is to be able to reach a large audience. I would love to share my message with as many people as possible by showcasing this journey with a documentary film . In order to fund and secure the documentary crew, I need to cover the "must-haves" first. If we are able to exceed the baseline of the fundraising goal, all additional funds will go towards getting the film crew out on the route as much as possible.

 Outstanding Must-Haves:
1) Support-vehicle-related
– Fuel
– Buildout materials
– Pull-behind camper rental

 2) Nutrition
– 8,000–10,000 calories per day (for me)
– Food for the crew

Stay in the Loop
I sincerely thank you for participating in my journey, in whatever capacity. Every contribution goes miles in both morale boosting and logistics. Please bookmark my website , Instagram , and Facebook page for updates, blog posts, pictures and video clips as the adventure unfolds. Also please share my social media accounts (especially Instagram: @robbiebalenger), and this GoFundMe with friends and family so they can follow along as well. THANK YOU!
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Hello everyone!

I thought I would share an update to those of you who may not be plugged into social media. The TransCon run has BEGUN. I’ve included some highlights from my first few days of running. What a trip this has been so far.

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Day 1: 43 miles + 1,371 ft. of elevation gain. My sendoff from Huntington Beach Pier was unbelievable! SO many people came out to support me as I took my first strides towards New York City. Dotsie Bausch from Switch4Good arranged a for a very special guest to come meet us and join in for some of my first miles... RICH ROLL! He is an incredible vegan endurance athlete who I have looked to for inspiration many times. His podcast is awesome (The Rich Roll Podcast). I am still beside myself over it and can’t believe I got to run the first few miles with this legend!

Additionally, we were surprised to learn that a few families had been following our story and showed up to meet us at the dock on Huntington Beach. Then, to my surprise AGAIN, the MAYOR of Huntington Beach also showed up and gave a speech thanking us for choosing HB to begin the run! What a cool experience. I can’t express how grateful I am to have all these wonderful people showing their support and showing up to see me off.

The miles today were mostly flat on a pedestrian path, something I need to get used to since I’m accustomed to steeper climbs in Colorado. The midday heat got real and I was excited to have Daniel Nicholson, CEO of NadaMoo!, come and run some miles with me. My crew has been amazing and tomorrow is a new day with new miles.

Day 2: 49.3 miles + 4,472 ft. of elevation gain. Most of today’s miles were on Rte. 66. At one point, we got to cover a tiny section of the PCT! Today was a really good day. There was a ton of climbing, which was a nice change from yesterday. It allowed my legs to work new muscles and the views were fantastic. This was day 2 of a coyote sighting. One ran with me for a bit at around mile 10. It feels like a good omen. Overall physically, I felt really great. Mentally, I felt strangely loopy. I’m interested to see how my body and mind continues to change as I move across more miles. Tomorrow, I will be sure to take a midday nap to help with recovery and energy.

Day 3: 47.4 miles + 907 ft. of elevation gain. The mental loopiness has gotten a little bit worse. I haven’t been sleeping that well, so that could be contributing. I developed some extreme paranoia about shady people and dogs chasing after me to bite me. I had to keep crossing the road every time I heard a dog. Around mile 20, I totally snapped out of it though, thankfully. A midday nap was KEY.

My crew has been working their butts off to make sure I’m eating and drinking enough. They are also so on top of all the logistical hurdles of using a generator and dealing with plumbing in the camper. They’ve also had a chance to chat with plenty of strangers who are curious what the heck we’re up to. It’s crazy to witness how people receive new information and make life decisions based on it. This plant powered mission is definitely making an impact already. We’ve also been the recipients of so much kindness! One couple saw us running on the side of the road and drove 40 extra miles away just to bring us some water, completely on their own accord!

Day 4: 50.6 miles + 800 ft. of elevation gain. Every day has had its ups and downs. Today was a really long day and the paranoia came back a little bit. My legs and butt are so sore at night, I’m not really sleeping. I’m definitely on top of my nutrition, though. Today I consumed 7,500 calories (and 1,200 of them were in electrolytes from SkratchLabs!).

Pretty shortly after I started today, I came upon a marine base that I was supposed to run through... but was stopped from doing so for obvious reasons. My alternative was to run on the shoulder of I-40... not an ideal option. After making several calls to higher-ups on the base, the crew and I were able to secure me an escort through the base. I lost some precious morning cool temps with this delay, but I’m glad I didn’t have to run alongside the interstate.

Today, I really took in the Mojave desert. It was hot and I took another late afternoon nap. I was woken up by my friend Griffin, a total surprise! He drove over 200 miles each way to run with me. Elliott helped me get through the late afternoon/early evening, and Jackie helped me finish out the last 10 miles, very slowly. I’m just looking forward to tomorrow, my shortest day so far with 28 miles.

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All-in-all, I have been settling into TransCon life and learning a LOT about my body, mind, and the general daily flow of my new life. Every day, every mile, is a learning experience. I will always have in-the-moment updates on my Instagram, so if you don’t already follow me there, please do! Thank you ALL for your support thus far. This is only the beginning and it has already been more than I could have ever imagined.
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Checkout my first blog post! It's about how I got into running and made the decision to run across the United States. Also an interview featured on Switch4Good's website. I will begin to post more to the blog so stay tuned!

https://www.plantpoweredmission.com/blog/
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$8,670 of $10,000 goal

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