Running Barefoot from California to New York

Long-distance runner plans cross country run in support of veterans

Can you imagine attempting to run across the entire United States in 100 days? Could you imagine doing it barefoot and while carrying 22 rocks in your backpack?

On Saturday, March 22 Anna Judd will set out to do just that, and her effort is all in support of our nation’s veterans. Over the past year Judd has used her passion for art to raise money and awareness for organizations like The Wounded Warrior Project and Team Red White and Blue, and starting on Saturday she’ll take the project one step further by setting out to run from Venice Beach in California all the way to the Freedom Tower in New York City.

In addition to video interviews and drawings, Part of Judd’s art project includes a performance piece. Using rocks as her canvas, she painted portraits of 22 fallen soldiers—a number she chose to symbolize the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day—and she’ll be carrying the rocks in her backpack as she makes her journey across the U.S.

“I’m carrying these rocks with me as I cross the country in a backpack, to say that I’m not afraid to carry the heavy burden of this loss and maybe if we all took a small part of this burden, then the load would get lightened for everyone,” Judd said in a video blog.

Judd will be running anywhere from 30 to 50 miles a day and she plans to finish the trip on June 28. As she runs, she also plans to broadcast live at 6 am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm and 1 pm every day using a mobile app called Hang w/.

On her website’s bio page Judd wrote:

"I started running long distances because I could constantly push myself farther and farther each and every time I went out. I haven’t found my limitations yet.”

This run is about being removed from everything I know. It's about surrendering to the fact that there is nothing between me and New York, or between me and veterans, or between me and the possibility of helping people in the way that I hope to. I'm learning how to believe in myself, and I want others to learn to believe in themselves too.

This run is about learning to care for people unconditionally.”

Among other charity partners, Judd will also be running in support of Charity Miles, Tour of Duty, and Operation Mindful Warrior. You can donate to her cause by visiting her website and she’s also encouraging runners all around the world to join her team by logging their miles (no matter where or when they run) with the Charity Miles app and using the hashtag #RunAmerica.