MINOOKA – At this time last year, Adam Kimble put his career on hold to travel the world with his wife – all the while growing a beard.
The “Forrest Gump”-like facial hair quickly became a foreshadowing of sorts to the next chapter of the 29-year-old runner’s life.
Kimble, of Minooka, is just weeks away from a race across America – an attempt to break a long-held Guinness World Record for the fastest crossing of the United States on foot by a male – not unlike Tom Hanks’ bearded character in the 1994 classic “Forrest Gump,” who went for a jog one day and ended up trekking across the entire U.S. several times.
“The beard is a part of my gear setup,” Kimble said.
Kimble will try to break a world record set in 1980 by Frank Giannino Jr., who traveled from San Francisco to New York in 46 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes.
To accomplish a similar feat in 45 days, Kimble will take off in mid-February from Huntington Beach, California, and run an average of 68 miles each day. If all goes well, his journey will end in New York City.
If you’re thinking, “this guy is crazy,” it’s OK. His wife, Karen Kimble, thinks so, too – but she’s equally supportive. She’s among a five-member RV crew that will follow Adam Kimble on his 3,030-mile trek across 13 states.
“He’s crazy,” Karen Kimble said. “I’ll run a few of the segments with him, but that’s it.”
Guinness World Record guidelines allow runners trying to break this record to choose the shortest or most suitable route so long as the route distance is equal to or greater than New York City to Los Angeles.
Any two coastal cities may be chosen as long as their distance apart exceeds the 2,766 miles from Los Angeles to New York.
To help pass the time, Adam Kimble is partnering with RunJunkEes – a runner’s club that is trying to find runners to join him periodically on his 3,000 mile-plus journey.
‘A big toll on the body’
Adam Kimble said the month and a half leading up to the big race will be key to preparing his body for the pain, possible injury and muscle soreness he’ll endure during the 45-day journey.
As part of his cross-training routine, he lifts weights at the gym and cycles. Adam Kimble attended a yoga session early Tuesday before going for a light jog near his home.
Adam Kimble started running four years ago but propelled quickly to the ranks of ultra runner, or someone who competes in footraces longer than the traditional 26.2-mile marathon.
Even with that kind of experience, he knows there are risks involved.
“For something like this, where I’m going to be running over 3,000 miles, it’s going to put a big toll on the body,” he said.
Adam Kimble purchased a NormaTech device – a dynamic compression legging outfit that places pressure and sends pulses up the legs – to aid in his recovery after a long day.
At some point, it will be about pushing through the pain, he said.
“It’ll become mind over matter at some point. That’s another thing that’s appealing to me ... the mental aspect of it. You still have to work hard, you still have to have running gifts and abilities to pursue something like this. But at the same time, it’s very, very mental,” Adam Kimble said.
“With long-distance running, it’s not necessary the best athlete is going to win. It may be the case that there’s someone 50 miles in and their mind is telling them, ‘This isn’t right. I don’t feel good,’ but somebody else is able to push through those feelings.”
Setting the pace
Using skills learned as a certified public accountant, Karen Kimble created a spreadsheet outlining her husband’s daily routine – including mileage, breaks, caloric intake and estimated beginning-and-end GPS coordinates.
“It’s given me, personally, an outlet, and given me a way to contribute,” Karen Kimble said.
Adam Kimble plans to start each day at 4 a.m., with a wake-up call of 3:15 a.m. that gives him time to fuel up with a healthy breakfast.
Through a combination of running, jogging and power-walking, Adam Kimble hopes to keep a 13-minute-mile pace that will take him through to each evening, when he will spend his time in recovery mode.
“I know I’ll have a lot of excitement so I’ll have to control my energy early on,” he said. “I have to remember each day is a small piece of a larger goal.”
Kimble is trying to break a world record set in 1980 by Frank Giannino Jr., who traveled from San Francisco to New York and clocked in at 46 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes. He hopes to beat that record by running 3,030 miles in 45 days.
Guinness World Record guidelines allow runners attempting to break this record to choose the shortest or most suitable route between the two cities so long as the route distance is equal to or greater than New York City to Los Angeles. Any two coastal cities may be chosen as long as their distance apart exceeds the 2,766 miles from Los Angeles to New York.
Adam Kimble’s course begins in Huntington Beach, California and will finish in New York City, New York, taking him through 14 states.
To help pay for expenses, Kimble’s GoFundMe page – www.gofundme.com/AdamsRaceAcrossUSA – has raised nearly $2,500 of his $10,000 goal.
The funds raised will pay for a transportation vehicle, a videographer and other items that the team will rely on. Any remaining money will be donated to Kimble’s charitable partner, Impossible2Possible, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring, educating and equipping a generation of global problem solvers.