Massachusetts Man Running Across America a Second Time for Charity
Running across America from Los Angles, California, to Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 2021 was not enough for Haverhill native, Mike Wilson.
He's doing it again. This time, he's starting on March 1, 2024.
"Can’t believe I’m doing it again because by the end of it, I was so done with it, but I just love to run and want to help others," said Wilson.
In the 2021 journey, Wilson dipped his toe in the Pacific Ocean and took off from the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, California, according to a Town Common article.
After talking about doing this 3,500 mile run for nearly 10 years, Wilson was pushed to officially take on the challenge at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Between Covid and politics going on, I was getting extremely discouraged with the way people were treating one another," Wilson said.
Perhaps lost after playing semi-professional football for a year, heavily competing in MMA, and constantly training for some kind of competition, Wilson ended up setting out on the Appalachian Trail.
It was then that he realized he could cover 50-mile days over mountains.
From the mountains to ultra marathons, Wilson said, “it’s all lead to this."
His first journey was nothing shy of an incredible story. After the car carrying his gear burned up on a Los Angeles freeway, he was forced to run with a baby stroller full of the gear, according to the Town Common.
“Some people called the police quite a few times, like someone’s pushing a baby on the highway, and then when they get out of the car, they’d just start laughing,” said Wilson to a Boston 25 news article.
During his first go at the run across America, and when he fast-packed the Appalachian trail, Wilson raised money for Lucy’s Love Bus and loves the organization.
"The first Run Across America raised more than $22,000 for Lucy’s Bus in Amesbury, which provided therapy for 22 children who had cancer," according to The Town Common.
Last I looked on the donation page, Mike actually raised over $32,000.
His goal was to raise $10 for every mile. The trip is just about 3,500 miles.
This go around, Mike is looking for six sponsors, and will be making t-shirts to sell. "I will be putting their logos on my shirts and other ways of advertising," said Wilson. "Hoping local biz will help me."
As for the second 3,500 mile run, Wilson is still looking into what non-profit he wants to donate to. He's certain that he will select a nonprofit associated with “mental health awareness.”
At 29 years old, Wilson is still pursuing being a professional athlete.
“It’s people like (Robbie Balenger, Hellah Sibide, James Lawrence) that followed their dream and made it happen despite age or circumstances that inspired me to keep going,” he said.
Ultimately, that's why Wilson felt as though he “had a calling" to run across America twice. It's to show others that there are no such things as societal norms, and to "inspire people to break the cycle" of "school, work, paying the bills." "It’s contagious, and we need more of that," said Wilson.
After the run across America, Wilson is heading out west to live and train in Flagstaff, Arizona, a running mecca at 7,000 ft. elevation.
"This will definitely be my last time doing it for a while," said Wilson. "Until I’m about 45 or so, then I plan on doing it again."