by Zandy Mangold
Myth or Legend? Is it possible to run across the USA in less than 46 days? That is what I wanted to find out, so I joined Pete Kostelnick and his crew at 8 a.m. on September 12, 2016, at City Hall in San Francisco, California and began my four day photo-odyssey of his transcontinental record attempt. A life-long runner and ultrarunner myself, I thought I had a clue about what a transcon record attempt would be like. I soon found out how little I actually knew.
One cannot rely on Google Maps. The crew is as important as the runner. There might be five hours of downtime – on a good day. Pete can run 135 miles at Badwater in less than 24 hours, but that does not guarantee he can run half that distance day after day. And calories, calories, calories – it seems impossible to consume as many that are burned every day.
The four days I was with Pete and his team were an epic mix of scenery, running prowess and catnaps between the action. As I struggled to wake up and chase Pete with my camera while riding in the crew vehicle, I pondered how much determination it must have taken Pete to rise and run, day after day, while figuring out how to keep moving at a record pace in spite of injuries and fatigue.