Ultra-runner Pete Kostelnick hit the road on September 12th, his 29th birthday, commencing his journey from San Francisco City Hall to run across America. His goal? To break Frank Giannino’s 36-year-old trans-America record of 46 days 8 hours 36 minutes (recognized by Guinness World Records) for the fastest crossing of the United States by foot. Some forty days later, Pete has chipped away at the expedition of 3,100 miles with consistency, and if he keeps at his incredible 72+-mile-a-day average, he should arrive at New York City Hall by Monday, October 24th, days ahead of the standing record.
Forrest Gump Lives
Pete’s running resume is filled with great feats: to put his speed in perspective, Pete’s marathon best is a time of 2:41:06 in 2015 at the Lincoln, NE Marathon. Regarding his ultramarathon achievements, in 2013 he ran 423 miles in seven days across Iowa at the Ragbrai, and in 2015, he won Badwater 135. In December of that year he went on to run 163 miles in 24 hours at the Desert Solstice 24 hour, and in 2016, he broke the course record at Badwater 135, running the challenging race in an incredibly fast 21:56:32. But running wasn’t always Pete’s forte; in fact, his running journey commenced years back, when he weighed 200 pounds and entered the Marine Corps Marathon to shed some weight. In addition to trimming down, over the next few years, Pete discovered his natural talent and fervor for running far and fast.
Pete is not taking any chances as he traverses the country with a world record in mind. He runs with a satellite transceiver which records his every move so that his progress is trackable. In addition, Pete wears two GPS watches at all times—in case one fails—and his support team gathers witness signatures, takes videos and photos, and assembles media reports daily. While running across the country is typically a lonely endeavor, Pete has had a host of running companions across various states, which makes his progress easy to follow on social media. His journey is one of discipline and numbers which serve to validate his record-breaking attempt.
The Daily Grind
Pete’s typical day on the road is a twelve-hour haul. He wakes while most of us are asleep at 3:30 a.m., and by 4:00 a.m., he hits the pavement. He typically covers 40 miles pre-lunch, and then adds on some 30 additional miles each afternoon. His pace is smooth and steady, and typically in the 9.5-minute mile range. Most days, he breaks between 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. for dinner and a massage, and is in bed in the support RV by 7:00 p.m. He aims for a solid eight hours of sleep, until it’s time to do it all again. To date, Pete has endured a host of weather patterns, to include snowstorms, thunderstorms, high winds, and mountain passes.
No great adventure can occur without the proper support. In Pete’s case, he travels with a power team of four who reside between two support vehicles and the RV, which serves as his home-away-from-home. It’s the team’s job to leapfrog him every step of the way, manage supplies, prepare meals, provide medical assistance, and supply logistical support. While only Pete is running, his crew is 100% invested in his success.
Fuel and mental strength is what keeps Pete moving forward. He consumes roughly 13,000 calories daily to sustain his unstoppable 72+-mile-a-day pace. For his first breakfast of the day at 3:30 a.m., Pete eats hot cereal, toast, a banana and a protein shake before he stops some 40 miles later for his second breakfast of eggs, more breads and fruits, and another protein shake, which fuels his next 30 miles.
According to Cinder Wolff, a personal chef and licensed massage therapist who is a key member of Pete’s support crew, “Dinner has to be a rebuilding meal. This is the meal that allows Pete’s muscles to rebuild while he sleeps. It always has a protein, carb, and some veggies.” If they have been close to a store as Pete’s running day comes to an end, then ice cream is Pete’s treat for the night. Cinder stocks Pete’s RV nightstand with protein bars, water, juice, and sometimes animal crackers, so that he can snack through the night.
Pete Kostelnick was born and raised in Boone, Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Finance and International Business. He is married to Nicole Larson, also a runner, and lives in Lincoln, Nebraska where he works as a financial analyst for National Research Corporation.
For those of you who want to join history in the making, Pete intends arrive at New York City Hall on Monday, October 24th, sometime between noon and 8:00 p.m. For live tracking of Pete, click here.
To learn more about Pete’s Feet Across America, visit: http://www.petesfeetaa.com/