I first heard the name Pete Kostelnick in 2016, in regards to his “run” across “America” - I put this in quotations because that’s how it sounded to me at the time - simply a sentence that I couldn’t truly grasp the meaning of or legitimately imagine in any way. Well, surely he didn’t run ALL the way across America, and surely he didn’t actually RUN the whole thing. Like, maybe somebody picked him up and drove him around to run across different parts of the country, and, eventually, they got from coast to coast. Right?
Wrong. This project went down exactly how it sounds. Pete Kostelnick broke the record for the fastest run across the United States: 3,067 miles, 42 hours, 6 days, and 30 minutes. I was racing on the track in college at the time, so I was just like, oh, that’s cool but insane and sounds unnecessary.
Now that I have myself caught a bit of the ultra bug, I can understand why somebody might be possessed to do these kinds of things. Which is why, when I recently heard that some man was running from Alaska to Florida with nobody and nothing but a stroller, I was more intrigued.
@petekostelnick: When I start running from Kenai, Alaska to Key West, Florida on 8.1.18, I'll be about 100 miles closer to Beijing, China than Key West as the crow flies...
Pete started running for the same reason that many others take up the sport. He says he got into marathons towards the end of college, “mostly to lose weight, be fit, and enjoy the feeling of ‘putting in some miles’.” Then, still in line with the logic of many other runners, it progressed into a desire to outdo himself. Pete’s idea of outdoing himself, however, is where he differs from most other runners.
“Every year from 2008 to 2016 I had this weird obsession with beating myself from the previous year - in total miles run each week and in personal best times,” he explains. “I think when I realized I couldn’t train further in 2015-2016 with a full-time job, I began thinking about runs like San Francisco to New York and Kenai to Key West…”
For his most recent endeavor, "Ke2Key," he chose the start and endpoints in order to run continually on US highways, from the westernmost point to the southernmost point. This run gives Pete the most pride in his running career to date - from how he came up with the idea, to how he planned it all himself and executed it completely self-supported. It was especially satisfying as a “mini comeback” after having struggled with running in 2017.
After crushing the previous record for the fastest run across America, Pete knew he needed a new challenge. “I would see others doing runs across America and thought about how I missed out on so much by doing nothing but running, eating, and sleeping all day with a full support crew… I knew I needed to make it a new challenge… the answer was to make it longer and do it self supported! That’s where I thought about the road trip I took to Alaska in 1999 with my family, and became in love with the idea of running through some of the most remote and beautiful parts of North America.” Pete did the entire run without receiving any help, and he went about 30 days on the Alaska Highway with not a soul to run alongside. Luckily he did meet many people along the way and had some company from friends, new and old.
Photos from Day 49
Pete finished his run 13 days ahead of schedule. Running an average of 55 miles per day, he covered 5,384 miles in 97 days. Albeit a solo endeavor, the emotional support that kept Pete going was and continues to be incredibly strong. The isolation and intensity of these projects shows Pete, and hopefully many others, that anything is possible.
Pete says, all things considered, he feels great (he wore SNB the entire way, which is probably why). Next up, he'll join a handful of other Squirrels at the Desert Solstice 24-hour race in Phoenix!