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Pete Kostelnick was looking for a way to unlock his wildest dreams so he ran from Kenai, Alaska to Key West, Florida. He set out to accomplish this as a self-supported run, pushing all of his gear in a jogging stroller.
He began on July 31st, 2018 and reached Key West on November 5th, 2018. In this interview you will hear how he got into long distance running ten years ago, why he decided to take the adventure of a lifetime, and how he managed to pull it off. Enjoy!
Interview with Pete Kostelnick
Pete Kostelnick is a 31 year old ultrarunner from Iowa (currently living in Ohio) who holds the world record for fastest coast-to-coast crossing of the United States by foot -a record he set in 2016. He crossed the U.S. in 42 days, six hours and 30 minutes . . . beating the previous record of 46 days, 8 hours, and 36 minutes set by Frank Gianinno Jr. in 1980.
Pete is also a two time winner of the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon in Death Valley and set the current course record there.
Stats from Pete’s Alaska to Florida Run
From Pete’s Feat Across America FB Page
- Start point: Anchor Point, AK
- End point: Key West, FL
- Total Miles 5,390.76 miles (when mileage is added to the hundredths) distance in kilometers is 8675.58
- 97 days 6 hours 57 min
- Daily average: 55 miles . (88.5 kilometers)
- Total elevation gain: 175,301 ft (that’s 6 Mt. Everests)
- Highest elevation gain run: 5,034 ft Day 6 in Alaska
- Lowest elevation gain run: 238 ft Day 96 in Florida
- Total moving time: 969 hours 32 min
- Highest mileage run: 93.22 miles Day 24 in Yukon
- Lowest mileage day: 0 Day 23 in Yukon (only 0 day due to wildfire)
- Highest mileage state: Alaska 622 miles
- Lowest mileage state: Kentucky 110 miles
We drove to Alaska and back pulling a camper this summer so I have huge respect for what Pete accomplished. Just running the entire length of the Alaska Highway would be an adventure of a lifetime.
There are 100 mile stretches of road between civilization and sometimes when you get to a gas station it is boarded up. Pete said the mosquitoes were so bad in places that he felt like Pig-pen from Charlie Brown. At least the scenery is inspiring.
When he ran through Watson Lake, Yukon, the fires were so bad that territorial police closed down the highway (the one and only road out). He had to take a “zero” day waiting for the smoke to clear.
The scenery in the Mid-West is pretty dull but Pete said he didn’t mind as long as the roads had wide shoulders. At this point more and more fans showed up to cheer him on. Running through Iowa was extra special since this is his home state.
In some places, like northern Alabama, the shoulders were so narrow that he could have touched passing semi-trucks with his elbow.
It took 11 days to run the entire length of Florida and the closer he got the Key West the heat and humidity grew more stifling. I would have longed for the end but Pete says he was kinda sad to be running out of road.
I’m going to remember Pete’s Feat next time I’m trying to get through the later miles of a marathon. If he can run 55 miles a day . . . I can do 26.2.
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Shout Out! Huge Congrats to Rachel Schopen
Seattle Marathon in the bag! I think I experienced every possible emotion during this race, including my first finish line lump-in-the-throat when I realized that despite the hills, I had PR’d by 5 minutes. My hip flexor tendonitis had kicked in at about the halfway point which was discouraging for a while. Then I remembered this interview with an ultra-runner I heard a few days ago; she said at some point, pain becomes your “new normal” so you adjust mentally to that, and somehow it doesn’t hurt as much. So I got my Zen on (aka “embrace the suck”) and realized it works! Thanks to everyone for the encouraging words when I posted about my pre-race nerves last week. Especially want to thank Coach Lynn for reminding me to keep up my positive mental game. It really made a huge difference! -Rachel
Just listened to this episode; made me think of the old Tom Bodet stories about “the end of the road” in Homer, AK, and they had a story of getting a new fire engine somewhere near Key West…at the OTHER end of the road.
My long winded point is…what he did is run from one end of the road to the other! 😉