Steve runs across the USA – then completes New York marathon

Steve Pope, left, and Chris Finill at the end of their run across America
Steve Pope, left, and Chris Finill at the end of their run across America

SHEFFIELD long-distance runner Steve Pope has done it – covering more than 3,000 miles from the west coast of America to the east.

After starting at the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco, he plunged into the Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island with colleague Chris Finill last Saturday to mark the end of an epic journey that was two hours short of 80 days.

They had four hours’ sleep, then ran the New York marathon, finishing it “on very heavy legs” in three hours, 38 minutes.

The two men completed the adventure, which they called ‘From Golden Gate to New York State’, in aid of the charity, Help for Heroes, overcoming searing heat, blizzards and floods. They crossed nine mountain ranges and three deserts.

Steve, a 44-year-old student landlord, who lives with wife Penny in Crosspool, said they emerged from the Atlantic “shivering but otherwise in good health.

“Despite the dire predictions of doctors and nutritional experts, neither of us lost any weight during the run and, apart from a few aches and pains, we ended with no significant injuries.”

He added: “The enormity of the whole event hasn’t really sunk in yet and it may take a while to do so.

“Whilst the American press is just as celebrity obsessed as the British papers, all the people we’ve met out here have been extremely supportive and shown a great interest in what we’ve been trying to do.

“We’ve raised about £4,000 for Help for Heroes so far.”

The challenge was to survive “heatstroke, sunstroke, rattlesnakes, bears and gun-toting rednecks” to raise £10,000 for the charity.

The duo were accompanied by cameraman Ben Southern, who is shooting a documentary about the run, in a back-up vehicle.

Both men are established ultra distance runners but eight times as many people have climbed Everest as have crossed America on foot and only one, an American, has taken a route similar to the one being taken by the British runners.

Chris, aged 52, a school bursar, from Surrey, is the only man to have run all 31 London marathons in under three hours.

Steve, who runs his own student property business after working as a teacher, cycled from Vancouver to the Mexican border over six weeks in 1995.

They completed the 3,126-mile trans-America run in 79 days, 22 hours. On the beach to greet them were family and friends and Jim Shapiro, whose book Meditations from the Breakdown Lane, an account of his epic 1980 run across America, was the inspiration for the adventure.

The aim was to run 40 miles a day, starting by 8am each morning and finishing by 5pm.

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