I am 54 years old and I am a teacher. I enjoy running, being active and exploring new places. I followed Ben's original 401 Challenge from the beginning on social media. I first ran with Ben in April 2016 in Milton Keynes. This was a big thing for me because I am not a very confident person but I ended up running with Ben twelve times during the challenge and it taught me that it's never too late to do something different and that you can overcome most things. Since then I have become a regular volunteer at park run and, until recently, led a local beginners/improvers running group.
I got involved in the Virtual USA Challenge because I wanted to support Ben and his aim to raise money for The 401 Foundation. I wanted to be part of the challenge and to explore the journey Ben will undertake. I have taken part in two similar challenges previously - LEJOG and Route 66 - and found them to be very motivational and an excellent way to keep active while giving you an amazing sense of achievement.
I am finding the Virtual USA Challenge to be a very positive experience. I recently relocated to Cumbria and the challenge has motivated me to get out and explore the local area through running, walking and cycling. I love logging my miles and seeing where I am on the map and how far it is to the next state capital. I am learning a lot about America and keeping fit at the same time! I enjoy collecting the postcards and badges and it gives me a real sense of accomplishment. Getting the t-shirt will be an extra bonus!
The challenge has helped me to remain fit and active especially during lockdown. Being fit and active helps me to remain positive and happy. The support and encouragement I have received from the other participants has been amazing and a real bonus. For me, one of the best things about the challenge are the other people taking part. Even though I haven't actually met most of them I consider them to be my friends.
I would encourage everyone to join the challenge. It is inclusive and friendly; there are so many activities you can use to increase your daily miles that it is suitable for everyone whatever your level of fitness. Join the Facebook group and meet lots of encouraging, friendly people. Joining the challenge as given me focus and a sense of purpose and I love being a part of it.
If you want to join Joanne and take part in one of our Virtual USA Challenge missions, you can register HERE, where will your adventure take you?