Writing about the first day of our GMO Free USA Run feels like squeezing a week’s worth of activities into one day because that’s just about what we did.
And the week leading up to the first day of the run was no less packed. Among a gazillion other purchases, Kris and I are now first-time owners of a new truck and trailer (new to us anyway). Until now, I’ve never had an interest in or need for big toys.
Our running team (Kris, Brett, David, Olivia and Angel) left Bountiful, Utah on Friday, January 17th at 10:40 am. We had originally planned to leave as early as Tuesday and as late as Thursday. David—the running inspiration of our team—woke up on Thursday feeling sick. And a new and needed camera (new to us anyway) that I had purchased on eBay more than two weeks previously, still had not arrived. Besides that, we just weren’t ready. So we put off our 709 mile drive yet another day, putting us at risk of missing our own run launch if we had experienced so much as a mechanical hiccup.
Our trusty 1998 Ford F-150 four-wheel-drive-gas-guzzling-monster-pulling-machine performed like a champ—and since it’s my first truck I can say it performed like no other truck I’ve ever owned. We stopped in Provo to grab a few last minute items, visit with our daughter Erika and her hubby extraordinaire, Russell, and to do the 4th or 5th radio interview in the last week. My brother Rob, his wife Stacey, daughter Madison and friend caught up with us in New Harmony just as we were leaving one of numerous gas stations on our drive. We hung out with Kevin and Laurie Smedley in Las Vegas. We stopped in Henderson and visited with former Sitkans Brad and Denalee Chapman. We loved their fresh homemade bread, home ground peanut butter and conversation. Denalee read from her soon-to-be-published book, Conquered, in which she shares her story of being healed from multiple sclerosis. I crashed for three hours while Kris stayed up and caught up with Denalee.
We got up at 2:00 AM with the naïve belief that we would arrive at Huntington Beach Pier by 7 AM where I could catch a bit of a nap before our big event got started. We made it to a beautiful RV park in Riverside, California where we parked our trailer, and then we drove the final 55 miles to Huntington Beach Pier arriving there at 10:30 am. Waaaay toooo close for our scheduled event launch time of 11:00 am!
There we met John Diaz, one of several people who have gone out of their way to make our launch and run a success. John had worked with other GMO free activists coordinating crucial details including getting banners made for us. Thanks, John!
People we had never met before presented us with gifts and well wishes. After getting to know each other for a bit, we stood with a beautiful banner in front of us and said a few words honoring the people who have been fighting the GMO battle for so long and talking about the purpose of our run. Then David, Alicia Serratos, (a 7 year old girl who wants to get GMOs out of Girl Scout cookies “because GMOs make bugs’ stomachs explode”) and I waded barefoot into the surf to officially start our coast-to-coast run. We ran back to the pier, put on our shoes, and, amid cheers from our supporters, ran down the bike path toward the Santa Ana River Trail accompanied by Alicia, her grandmother, and other supporters.
We then ran nine miles under a hot Southern California January sun. By the day’s end we had also managed to squeeze in interviews at Alegria Fresh, a hydroponic farm located in the Orange County Great Park and a presentation by Howard Vlieger (rhymes with trigger) in the city of Tustin. We didn’t make it back to the trailer until nearly 11:00 pm.
1. Running while recovering from a sickness is no way to start a 3000-mile run.
2. Running on three hours of sleep and chronic sleep deprivation is no way to start a 3000-mile run.
3. We’re not running alone. People and organizations have committed time and resources to ensure our success and our exhaustion does not further our cause for the long run. We need to take better care of ourselves (as I write this blog in the wee hours of the morning prior to today’s run) so we can actually run for a GMO Free USA today, tomorrow, and for many tomorrows into the future.
Thanks to everyone who is working to make it happen!!!
We still have a few more days before our on-line crowd funding campaign–Running For a GMO Free USA–crosses the finish line. If you’ve already contributed, we thank you! If not, now’s your chance. Your contribution will lighten our load and help us focus on our run and mission as we Run For a GMO Free USA.