YouTube fitness star Hellah Sidibe (who goes by the name HellahGood online) completed a 5,100K run across America on Sunday after 84 days on the road. Sidibe started his run in Los Angeles in early March with the goal of making it to New York City in 100 days or less. He smashed that goal by more than two weeks, largely due to the fact that he didn’t miss a day of running throughout the entire journey.
Sidibe was born in Mali in northwest Africa, but he currently lives in New Jersey, not too far from where he finished his cross-country run in Manhattan. In an interview with northjersey.com after his run, Sidibe said he and his team had debated running from New York City to L.A., but they ultimately decided running from west to east was the best call. “I talked to other runners and they told me to start on the West Coast to take advantage of the tailwind,” he said.
Within his trans-America run was another challenge that Sidibe has been working on for four years now: a run streak that he started in May 2017. Back then, Sidibe could hardly run a mile, but he forced himself to keep at it, first starting with 10 minutes of running each day and eventually working up to multiple miles in one outing. Over the course of his 84-day journey across the U.S., he averaged about 60K per day.
A challenge of this size very well could have broken Sidibe, and there was a good chance that running thousands of kilometres across the country would require a few rest days. This would have snapped his run streak, but if that was ever a worry for Sidibe, he didn’t need to fret about it, as he made it through the entire run without needing a break. He did struggle at the start, though, and he told northjersey.com that the first 30 days or so were tough, both physically and mentally.
“Shin splints were a problem. My ankles were swollen. My Achilles was inflamed. And my feet swelled. I went from a size 10 to 11.5, so the shoes I brought no longer fit.” Despite all of these problems, Sidibe persevered, and he eventually made it through the toughest stages of the run and to the finish. Plus, just a few days before arriving in NYC, Sidibe celebrated four years of his run streak.
“This one is extra special because I’m celebrating while running across America,” he wrote on Instagram. Sidibe is likely done with big challenges for the next while, but there’s no doubt that he will continue his streak in the coming months and perhaps years. To follow along in his journey, check out his YouTube page.