Race Across America Update: 1,700 Miles Down

Since July 4, John Radich has been running 35-40 miles day after day and has covered over 1,700 miles as he cruises through Missouri on his way to Chicago, a major stepping stone to his ultimate destination, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

John’s journey through Missouri, the “Show Me State,” known for the uncompromising, conservative and skeptical character of its natives, has enabled him to turn skeptics into supporters as they learn of his run across the country and the cause of helping youth make good, positive choices in life.

John said, “The goodness of people I’ve found doing this run has amazed me. They’ve been really supportive of what I’m doing. People have offered me food and shelter, directions and even a ride on several occasions, which I had to graciously decline so as not to compromise the spirit and integrity of this run. I get a little emotional when I think about it, that I’m coming to the end of Route 66.”

John added, “I am astonished at how well-preserved Route 66 is in small towns like Carterville, Missouri, and it warms my heart to see history come alive with the likes of the 66 Drive-In Theater near Carthage. The run has really given me an appreciation of America and its people.”

Here are a few comments from well-wishers, which illustrate John’s sentiments about the American people who are so supportive of him:

Tracy writes, “Getting near my neck of the woods now! You continue to amaze and inspire, John!”

And Betsy says, “Wondering if you’re running on Route 6 through LaSalle-Peru, because I would like to come up and cheer you on!”

In his approach to Springfield, Missouri, the road has narrowed with panoramic views of the Mother Lode Highway, cows are everywhere as well as a few chasing dogs to avoid. Not able to find a motel in the middle of farm country, John ends up sleeping in a field with dreams of a warm motel and shower to look forward to on another day.

Within 38 miles of St. Louis, John hits a whole slew of hills and a long, scenic and humid 27-mile stretch along Route 66. John’s crew chief, and Badwater Crew veteran, Steve Shepard keeps him hydrated, fed and replenished with minerals and vitamin supplements—all important to keeping the body maintained and functioning during this legendary traverse.

John arrived in St. Louis in one piece with the following comment: “What a beautiful city—but ouch, I woke up with sore groin muscles from all of the hill running. Time for more Natural Vitality recovery supplements.”

And now he’s into the farmlands of Southern Illinois and cooler temperatures, and on to Chicago, where John faces his biggest challenge as Route 66 really breaks up on this final stretch into the Windy City.

John is headed into Springfield, Illinois, where he encountered rain this morning and frigid temperatures in the 30s. With bucking headwinds for two days and some hard running, John arrived in Springfield, Illinois, land of Abraham Lincoln, a city rich in history and character.

Out of Springfield, John enjoyed a long section of Route 66 with plentiful corn fields and huge combines and farms stretching for miles and miles. John noted, “I have so much appreciation for the farmers and how hard they work. I’m running early in the morning, and they’ve already been out in their fields two hours before me, doing their chores, getting their jobs done.…Just seeing America on foot, it’s the greatest country in the world.”

Warmer weather greeted John in Lincoln, Illinois, with no headwinds to contend with and temperatures back in the 80s!

“Illinois stands out as having the most well-marked stretch of Route 66 of any state,” John said, adding that his experience throughout the state dispels rumors that claimed Illinois was one of the most difficult states to run through.

Next stop Chicago! Keep on striding, John!