While some people might plan a holiday after a tremendous physical accomplishment, Mike Wardian is already looking at what adventure he can tackle next. Running across the world and heading into space (with his running shoes on, of course) are both on this renowned endurance athlete’s bucket list.
Wardian wrapped up his transcontinental run across the U.S. just over a week ago, running 107 miles on his last day to finish in Rehoboth Beach, Del. The athlete lives in Arlington, Va., and had been dreaming of this adventure for decades. Partially inspired by the fictional character Forrest Gump, Wardian ran with the support of a crew chief, Erik Belz, who had previously helped ultrarunner Karl Meltzer run a record time on the Appalachian Trail. He was joined along the way by people who came out to cheer him on and run with him for some portion of the journey, and he managed to raise over $100,000 dollars for the organization World Vision, which helps families access clean drinking water.
Wardian is known for his many extreme accomplishments, including setting the world record for the fastest time to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Throughout his run, Wardian posted daily highlights on Instagram, including what audiobook he’d listened to that day, a favourite quote-of-the-day, and notable observations or memorable moments. We caught up with Wardian to chat about his journey and to see where he’s headed next.
Sacramento-3,073 Miles-look what I found with @deweybeersmith today. This was on my radar since May 1, 2022 when I left San Francisco’s City Hall. Finally felt like doing a run and knew exactly where I wanted to end up. Time for some pickleball #running #trailrunning #relentless pic.twitter.com/VIkqGi9FyR
— michael wardian (@mikewardian) July 10, 2022
Congrats on the amazing journey! Who made up the stellar crew that helped you?
So my crew was Belz, my dad (Dick Wardian), and a friend named Henry.
What was the absolute best day of the whole run?
The best day of the whole trip was the last day, of course. Seeing my family and finishing on the beach with the sun rising, just being with all the friends and the completion of the journey made it really special.
The worst day was when someone threw a hamburger at us in Ohio. It hit my friend, a vegan, in the stomach. Just so rude and mean.
What was the most useful advice you received going into this journey? What advice would you give anyone thinking about trying a transcontinental run?
I think the best advice I received was just to be consistent. Don’t overreach–I think I would give that same advice to somebody else.
Which state had the safest roads for running?
Surprisingly, the best roads were Delaware and Utah because I was running on the highway.
You did an incredible job raising so much money for World Vision USA! What inspired you to choose that charity for your fundraiser?
I was inspired to choose World Vision USA as a fundraiser because I work with them regularly sorting out humanitarian food and shipments. I know what good work they do and that they were a worthwhile charity.
What’s next for you?
I have so many things I want to tackle next! I want to row across the Atlantic, and I want to run the Appalachian Trail. I want to do the Pacific Crest Trail, run across all the continents and then also run on the moon.