Kids And Adults Worldwide To Virtually Run And Walk With Man Through Alaska
A 44-year-old husband, father of four and ultra-endurance athlete pushing a jogging stroller of gear will virtually trek with thousands of children and adults worldwide over a 500-mile course through the rugged terrain of Alaska between April 20 and May 12, 2009. Paul Staso accomplished a 3,260-mile solo run across the United States in 2006 and a 620-mile solo run across Montana in 2008 ─ virtually trekking with teams of children using his unique approach to promoting youth health and fitness. Now he's heading as far north as the Arctic Circle and for the first time will virtually bring adults along on his journey.
"The Alaska journey, called P.A.C.E. Trek 2009, is my way of trying to make an impact in the childhood obesity issue and the continuing decline of youth health and fitness," Staso says. "The journey through Alaska will require me to average 30 miles per day as I encounter some rugged and breathtaking terrain. I'll be virtually traveling with teams of children and adults from around the world as they access my web sites, pacetrek.com and stepthere.com, and learn about the locations we're trekking through via my writings, pictures and media files."
In May 2008 Staso accomplished the inaugural P.A.C.E. Trek by virtually bringing children with him across the state of Montana. Through rain, wind, heat and snow Staso persevered across Montana, averaging 31 miles per day for 20 days during the east-to-west run. There were 108 teams of children (8,000+ runners and walkers) globally following along with him and cumulatively those teams logged over 42,000 miles during the trek. P.A.C.E. is an acronym for Promoting Active Children Everywhere and that is what Staso aims to achieve through his endeavors.
"Since I completed my 108 days of running coast-to-coast across America, I've had opportunities to speak to many audiences about the purpose of P.A.C.E. and what I believe needs to be done to turn the tide on the growing epidemic of childhood obesity," Staso says. "Kids need to see that if you take care of your body it can take you on some wonderful adventures ─ far more satisfying than staring at a television or computer for hours on end. By the reactions I receive from children, I know that my message and endurance journeys intrigue many."
Staso, a former 5th grade teacher, has developed an extensive web site at www.pacetrek.com so teachers and students from kindergarten through 12th grade can be involved in the trek. There is no cost to register a P.A.C.E. Trek team and teachers can sign up a team at pacetrek.com. For the 2009 endeavor Staso decided that it was time for adults to get involved in the virtual journeys. Therefore, adults can register teams for free via stepthere.com. Staso, who organizes and funds much of the endurance journeys himself, intends to do the treks annually in different locations ─ as long as his body holds up.
"We've set it up so that teachers will have everything needed at the pacetrek.com web site and it would not take any more than 10 minutes per day for 17 school days. That's a commitment of less than 3 hours total," Staso says. "Last year we had teams reaching from Germany to Georgia; Malaysia to Maine; Australia to Alaska; Italy to Iowa... and so many places in between. I'm very excited to also offer an opportunity to parents and non-parents to get involved through stepthere.com."
Once again Staso will push a jogging stroller to carry essential equipment, including: food, water, GPS, running gear, and more ─ even a solar panel for charging electronic gadgets. Lodging will be arranged before the journey begins.
Staso grew up in Alaska, attending such schools as Eagle River Elementary; Gruening Middle School; Chugiak High School; and, Juneau-Douglas High School - from which he graduated in 1983. Montana has been Staso's home for the past 25 years. He is committed to doing what he can to inspire, educate and motivate children and adults toward greater health and fitness. Staso also wants people to set personal goals and reach for their dreams. As he says, "Your dreams are beyond the horizon, and you have to persevere to the horizon in order to realize those dreams."
When not on the road, Staso develops virtual trek curriculums which many schools have either adopted or imitated, including a Run/Walk Across America trek (seeusrun.com) and a fitness journey along historic Route 66 (kids66.com). He also develops corporate web sites and provides Internet marketing services through OnTrack Designs.
Staso is asking all who hear about his latest endeavor, P.A.C.E. Trek 2009 (and the adult challenge called S.T.E.P. There), to share the upcoming 2009 Alaska trek with as many people as possible. "The Alaska adventure will be a fun, educational trek for all involved, regardless of age or where they're located," Staso says. "Since it's a free and unique opportunity I particularly hope that school teachers and coaches will sign up student teams and support the aim of getting kids up, moving and learning."
You can learn more about P.A.C.E. Trek 2009 at pacetrek.com, and the adult challenge at stepthere.com. You can also experience Staso's 2006 solo run across America online at pacerun.com, and his 2008 solo run across Montana at pacetrek.com/montana.