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In April 2018, Eric Keeler will set out on a 210 day trip.
This is no normal vacation. It’s not a sabbatical, and it’s certainly not a holiday. Eric will be traversing the USA from the East Coast to the West Coast in a 4,200 mile expedition.
Raising money for Spinal Research, a charity we work very closely with, the Corner to Corner challenge will test the demands of body and mind. So much so, in fact, that we decided to delve a little deeper and ask Eric those all important questions ahead of the event!
So Eric, where did the idea for the challenge come from?

I remember when I was around 10 years old seeing someone on BBC Breakfast show talking about their up and coming challenge of running across America. It was something at the time I thought would be such an amazing thing to do but never in my life would I ever attempt it.

Since then, the idea of running across America has always been in the back of my head, and it wasn’t until a few years ago when I finished my first ever race did I actually think it might be something  I might have  shot at doing! Now here I am, almost 20 years after first seeing that guy on the news, about to embark on my own insane challenge of crossing the USA by foot.

An insane challenge it truly seems to be! How are you preparing physically for such a demanding challenge?

As you can probably guess there is no training plan for running across a continent, I struggled to even find any for races over 50 miles long let alone 4,200 miles! I think the only way you can really train for something like this is by just making yourself as physically ready for the start day as possible. In other words eating right, trying to run every day even if it’s just a small distance, just so that your body has some kind of baseline going into 7 month of running.

As I live in the Austrian Alps, it is something that is so easy to do in the sunny summer months but now that the snow has arrived and the temperature is hitting -10°c, it is going to be a challenge in itself to just get outside let alone run! Outside of the physical training there is an insane amount of route planning and emails to find sponsors (thanks Scimitar!) as well as connections in the States. I spend a few hours every day at the computer making sure I have planned everything well and talking to various people about publicity along the route. To be honest this is just me being over cautious and planning everything, I have seen people who have just decided one day to get up and run across the country!

Corner to Corner USA

So it’s all in the planning! Other than the physical demands, there will be the mental challenge. How do you prepare for this?
The mental side of it is something that I think is almost more important than the physical, after all i am going to be running alone for well over half of 2018. For me to prepare mentally I like to know absolutely everything about what I am doing, from each different route that I could take to what to do if I am facing down a tornado.
I like to have every base covered so to speak, even if on day one all of this planning goes out of the window I have to know that I was as prepared as possible going into it. One thing which I will have to do throughout the 7 months is talk to as many people as possible, from a quick hello to a full conversation. I think these “small” encounters with people will be key to keeping me sane whilst on the road.
How will people be able to keep an eye on your progress during the challenge?
I have all of the usual social media accounts which will be updated multiple times a day (depending on the internet connections) with photos and videos to how I am coping with the challenges I am facing. I also have a blog on my website which has been going for a year already.
I will aim to have this updated every week as a summary of life on the road. Probably the most exciting way to follow me is via my tracking device which will show you live, exactly where on the roads I am!
152 days and counting. When will the nerves kick in?
To be honest, the nerves have been building ever since I announced the run 2 years ago, although it really hit home back in July how dangerous this challenge actually is. As with every summer I follow the progress of the few people who are currently running their own routes across the States, and unfortunately this year a guy called Nick Ashill, who was only a few weeks from finishing his crossing, was involved in a hit and run.
Thankfully he is doing a lot better but is still undergoing surgeries and intensive therapy to be able to walk again. When you see things like that it definitely makes the nerves spike! I think though after getting the first week under my belt, they should hopefully subside as I get used to the life on the road.

Other than ourselves, brands including the likes of FitBit and OmniCharge are supporting Eric on the mammoth Corner to Corner challenge.
From all of us here at Scimitar, we wish you the world of luck when April comes around!
To donate to Eric’s cause and help him along the way, click here. Interested in becoming a sponsor with the provision of international exposure? Get in touch with Eric by clicking here.


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