On Sunday, May 1, from City Hall in San Francisco, California, runner Michael Wardian set off on his latest adventure — a run the whole way across the United States, ending at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, to raise money for World Vision’s clean water projects around the world. He will be following Route 50, America’s loneliest highway, through some of the remotest parts of the country, and will travel through 13 states, covering over 3,200 miles.
Wardian has a host of wild and wonderful running accomplishments to his name, and this latest challenge seems fitting for the runner, who holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon run in Antarctica — 2:54:54, run on January 23, 2017.
This was the first leg of his World Marathon Challenge, consisting of seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Wardian holds the fastest cumulative time for the event at 19 hours, 21 minutes, and 36 seconds, averaging 2:45:57 per marathon. His Antarctica run is believed to be the only sub-three-hour marathon run on the ice-covered continent.
Wardian also previously held the record for the fastest marathon pushing a stroller, which he set with the help of his then 10-month-old son Pierce, at the Frederick Marathon in 2007, in a time of 2:42:21.
More recently, in 2020, Wardian won the Quarantine Backyard Ultra, completing 262.5 miles, or 63 laps, in a tight circuit around his local neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia, to abide by social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the first day of his latest challenge, which is called Running Home because he’s running in the direction of his home, the public was invited to share in Wardian’s send-off and to run a few miles with him.
He told iRunFar he had 20 to 30 people accompany him for the first part of his run from City Hall to Ocean Beach. There he dipped his toes in the Pacific Ocean before heading east on his quest toward the Atlantic, covering 57.97 miles on the first day.
All going well, Wardian’s schedule will see him averaging just over 50 miles per day to finish the traverse, appropriately, on July 4.
When asked about his motivation, he told iRunFar: “I’m trying to raise $100,000 for World Vision for clean water projects. I think right now we’re 14% of the way, so hopefully each day we get a little more and change a lot of lives. I think right now we’ve already impacted [about] 350 lives. It’s so cool, every day I get texts saying that somebody donated five bucks, and imagine if everybody donated just five bucks!”
You can follow Wardian’s run on the live tracker and send him a supportive message, make a donation to his World Vision fund, and help him reach his goal of raising $100,000 for this most worthy cause.