Running Across America with Ultra Runner Mike Wardian

Running across America? Forrest Gump wasn’t the only one. To me, this is one of the biggest feats of endurance. I was fortunate enough to sit down with ultra-runner Mike Wardian on Self Love and Sweat THE PODCAST to hear more about what it’s like to run coast to coast.

Meet Mike Wardian

Mike Wardian is a 47-year-old athlete from Washington, DC with a long list of titles to his name: Father of two teenage boys. Professional runner. Beekeeper. Chess player. And he’s won marathons and ultramarathons on all seven continents (yes, even Antarctica!). He knows quite a few things about running and was willing to share some insight into what it takes to build up your fitness lifestyle and run with it.

Running Across America: How Do You Get Here?

Mike started his running career in the 90s when a friend handed him a photocopied running training guide. He had big ambitions from the start, qualifying for the Boston Marathon less than a year into his training.

“I started out just wanting to finish a marathon. Then I started asking myself, can I run a little faster? Can I run a little farther? I had no idea what that one event would lead to. Now I’m trying to run across the country. You never know where your ambitions will take you.”

What Does It Take to Run Across America?

Having been in over 250 marathons and ultramarathons, Mike Wardian shares that it all starts with preparation.

“There’s a huge amount of complexity involved with a long-distance run, especially running across America. Just trying to set up your life so that you can disengage from everything for a couple of months is overwhelming, because you still have a normal life in addition to your running life. That has been one of the most difficult parts for me, but I’ve set up smaller steps within this larger goal to make it more manageable.”

Mike also believes that it takes a lot of physical and mental preparation to be able to take on such a lofty challenge.

“When you think about running 50 miles a day for 60 days, that might not sound so hard. You’ve got these smaller goals, and running 50 miles in a day (that’s like two marathons) might not sound so bad for a seasoned runner. But you’re going to be in for a rude awakening if you go into this thinking it won’t be hard.”

Right now, Mike is participating in a few running events as part of his training, including a 100-mile run, a 100K event, and a handful of marathons. He plans to embark on his Running Across America adventure in May 2022.

Hear my full conversation with Mike on all things running, training, and inspiration on Self Love and Sweat THE PODCAST, episode #65.


And if you want to get involved and support Mike on his “Running Home” project, check out this message he posted on his IG the other day:

Hey everyone starting on May 1st, 2022 I am going to fulfill a lifelong dream!

The “Running Home” project starts at San Francisco City Hall, lasting about 65 days with appx 134,000 in elevation gain, crossing 14 states & finishing in the Atlantic Ocean in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on July 4. What better way to celebrate the 4th of July?! We invite all of you to be a part of this incredible journey.

The link for the planned route:

We mapped the probable route using the Strava link above. We have no idea about the roads on this route and could really use your feedback, especially if there are areas we should avoid. If there is a special restaurant or attraction along the “run home” we’d love to know that too!

My buddy Phil Hargis is helping me plan the route and logistics. Please email all feedback about the route to Phil at [email protected] it would be hugely helpful and forever appreciated.

The planned daily schedule is available here. It is broken down by a daily segment of approximately 50 miles per day. It includes the exact landmark planned for each daily start and stop:

If you wish to run with me or help support along the course, we certainly welcome and encourage it. The more people we can have come out the more fun and exciting it will be. Please email Phil if there’s a particular segment you plan to join. We would love to hear from you and see you out there!

For sponsorship opportunities, please email me directly at [email protected]