Running Across Montana to Encourage Kids to Be Active

One man pushing a jogging stroller of gear will attempt a 610-mile solo run across the state of Montana during the Spring of 2008. Paul Staso accomplished a 3,260-mile solo run across the United States in 2006 to keep a promise to elementary children in Missoula, Montana. Now he's returning to the road in order to encourage more kids to be active and fit.

"The trek across Montana is my way of trying to make an impact in the problem of childhood obesity and the continuing decline of youth health and fitness," Staso says. "The 17-day east-to-west journey across Montana will require me to average 36 miles per day from the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains. I'll be virtually racing teams of children from various parts of the globe as they access my website, www.pacetrek.com, and learn about the locations we're traveling through together via journal entries, pictures and videos."

P.A.C.E. Trek 2008 will begin on Monday, April 28, 2008 with the target completion date being Wednesday, May 14, 2008. Through rain, wind, heat, cold and possibly snow, Staso is determined to make the journey across his home state. P.A.C.E. is an acronym for Promoting Active Children Everywhere and that is what Staso hopes to achieve through his latest endeavor.

"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 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. By the reactions I receive from children, I know that my journeys intrigue many of them. If I can plant a seed of possibility in even one child, then all of the mileposts are worth it."

Staso, a former 5th grade teacher, has developed an extensive website at www.pacetrek.com so that teachers and students from kindergarten through high school can be involved in the trek. The site will include a team leader login section so that participating teams can post their daily mileage and track their progress against that of Staso and other schools. There is no cost to schools to form a P.A.C.E. Trek 2008 team and if the Montana endeavor is a success, Staso may do a P.A.C.E. trek in other U.S. locations annually.

"We'll have to see what kind of interest there is for this type of fitness/ educational virtual trek challenge," Staso says. "We've set it up so that teachers will have everything needed at the pacetrek.com website and it would not take any more than 15 minutes per day for 13 school days. That's a commitment of only?three hours over the course of 2? weeks."

The virtual trek is not limited to only classroom students, but can also be a challenge that other youth-focused groups can participate in, such as running/mileage clubs, after-school enrichment programs and YMCA youth programs.

Staso will once again push a jogging stroller to carry his essential equipment, 65 pounds including food, water, tent, GPS, running gear and a solar panel for charging his electronic gadgets. Lodging will be arranged before the journey begins, but the possibility exists that Staso may have to camp in some locations along the demanding--and frequently desolate--route.

Staso is currently forming the P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation and is committed to doing what he can to inspire, educate and motivate kids toward greater health and fitness. He also wants kids to set personal goals and to reach for their dreams, because 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 running the roads of America, Staso develops virtual trek curriculums which many schools have either imitated or adopted, including a Run/Walk Across America challenge (seeusrun.com) and a trek along the historic Route 66 (kids66.com).

Staso is asking all who hear about his latest endeavor, P.A.C.E. Trek 2008, to share the journey with as many public, private and homeschool teachers as possible. His hope is that many schools around the globe will sign up to participate through pacetrek.com. "This will be a fun, educational trek for all kids in grades K through 12, regardless of where they're located," Staso says. "Since it's a free and unique opportunity, I hope that teachers will give it a try and support the aim of getting kids up, moving and learning."

Click here to watch video coverage of P.A.C.E. Trek 2006.


Learn more about P.A.C.E. Trek 2008 at www.pacetrek.com , and?check out?Staso's 2006 solo run across America online at www.pacerun.com .

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