Christina Lee is running 3100 miles accross America — from New York to San Francisco — to raise money for the Navy SEAL Foundation.
Q & A
Who is the runner?
A 23 year old recent software engineering graduate, Christina Lee grew up in the Bay Area before shipping off to college at NYU and Stevens. Contrary to popular belief, she does not have a background in long distance running outside of her ironically named cross country running career in high school.
How long will the run take?
The original plan was to cover the distance from New York to San Francisco in 99 days, with about 15 rest days mixed in. However, broken wheels, extended sight seeing, and adverse weather have tempered those plans. In Illinois, the remaining route was altered for strategic reasons, adding to the total trip distance. The run concludes on December 6th underneath the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
How many miles does she run a day?
The number of miles run each day varies greatly based on the space between adjacent towns, so some days can be as short as 16 miles or as long as 40 miles. In ideal environments, such as Nebraska, Christina averages just over 30 miles a day; in challenging ones, such as Wyoming, she covers around 25 miles a day.
Does she have a support crew?
Christina is completing the run unsupported. That means that on a day–to–day basis, she does not have a support crew following her; instead, she carries all of her necessities with her in a running stroller nicknamed Thor.
Where does she sleep?
Christina usually sleeps in donated hotel rooms or on couches when offered. When those are unavaible — usually from lack of nearby inhabitted areas, she sleeps in the tent she carries with her.
Why the Navy SEALs?
Christina has spent the last 5 years living near the 911 Memorial in New York City. She appreciates that those American freedoms we take for granted are very difficult to protect and require the services and dedication of many.
In most cases we can thank our defenders openly and praise their sacrifices. We clap as uniformed military personnel walk by in airports and on the streets, we cheer them in stadiums and share stories of their service with pride.
For the Navy SEALs, that recognition is noticeably absent. These men, who are called on to handle the most difficult, critical and dangerous of missions, live in the shadows. They must remain nameless and faceless so that they may continue to perform their critical missions. Even the SEAL’s family cannot openly share the chosen profession of their loved one and must carry on while their SEAL is away from home.
In fact, the only time that we hear about the Navy SEALs is when something goes terribly wrong, such as with Operation Red Wings. Christina’s goal is to acknowledge these brave warriors while they are healthy rather than wait until tragedy strikes. Although they must still remain nameless and faceless, Christina wants SEALs and their families to know that they are appreciated and respected for their difficult lives. The Navy SEAL Foundation is a critical member of that support team and provides help to Navy SEALs and their families.
The NSF website has a graphic that captures it all: they have our backs, let’s have theirs.
How does the charity help the SEALs?
The Navy SEAL Foundation gives detailed breakdowns of where donated money goes and how it is used on their official website, navysealfoundation.org. Their five main branches of outreach are:
- Warrior Support and Family Services
- Educational Opportunities
- Tragedy Assistance
- Survivor Support
- Legacy Preservation
How can I help?
First and foremost, this is a charity run aiming to raise funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation. Donations are always helpful, and keep Christina going through the hardest days. If you don’t have any spare change lying around, there are some other ways to help as well.
- Spread the word to others, share the facebook page with your friends, talk it up at the local coffee shop, etc. While you might not be able to give, you never know if one of your friends might be able to help! The more who know about the cause, the more likely we are to reach the fundraising goal.
- Donate to the arrival party charity auction. If you are a creator of things people like to own and want to donate an item for the auction, we’d love to have it. Arts and crafts, business products, adventures and experiences... we welcome it all!
- Live along the running route? Volunteer to host, feed, or otherwise support Christina when she gets to your town.