Shaun & Shamus: Power To Push

3200 miles is a LONG distance to travel via any method... This past summer my family took the long one way flight from New York to Seattle and then I RAN home while pushing my son, Shamus, in his running chair.

Shamus has cerebral palsy which limits his primary means of mobility to a wheel chair but it does not, in any way, limit his ability to dream BIG. In 2013, after he and I had run (and WON) a 6 hour ultra- marathon by running over 45 miles in the allotted time, Shamus thought it would be fun to run that far EVERY DAY during his summer vacation from school! 

“How far could we make it if we ran that much every day” was the question he asked as soon as we got in our car to drive home after the race. 

He persisted for three months solid, asking every night at bed time “When are we going to run across America?” My wife and I always responded with one excuse or another, “It will cost a lot of money”, “I don’t know if I can take off that kind of time from work”, “I don’t know if my body can handle it” were just a few of our litany of excuses. 

However, right before Thanksgiving 2013, Shamus said when I tucked him in that night “Dad, when we run across the country, can we donate chairs to kids like me so they can feel what it is like to they can go fast and feel the wind and their faces?!” 

We knew we had to make Shamus’ dream a reality. For the next 18+ months we fundraised, trained, teamed up with Ainsley’s Angels of America and planned logistics for our journey. I prepared my body for the grueling task ahead by running every spare minute of each day. We tried to consider EVERYTHING to keep me running strong; nutrition, sneakers, socks, and apparel. 

Figuring out how I was going to stay fueled was of utmost importance to making our summer mission a success. For years I have used all of LARABAR’s products to fuel my running. As I trained, I would carry LARABARs and ALT bars in my hydration pack on long runs. My long runs evolved into running 4-6 hours most days with even longer runs on weekends and Thursdays (my regular day off from work as a full time physical therapist) and I consumed a bar every hour on the hour. I quickly found that LARABARs agreed with me. The simple fuel was easy on my stomach and I was truly able to enjoy the fueling process with the incredible flavors and variety. 

We were extremely fortunate to have LARABAR hear about our mission to run across the country to promote inclusion and gift mobility. The support they provided was essential in helping us to have a successful journey. Not only did LARABAR keep our family fueled we quickly discovered that the people that worked with us were genuine and truly wanted to be a part of our mission. 

On July 4th Shamus used his walker to walk out of the Pacific Ocean and onto the beach in Seattle. For 60 consecutive days after that I ran an average of 54 miles per day. I spent 6-10 hours putting one foot in front of the other as we traveled through small town America. With Shamus inspiring and LARABAR keeping me fueled each step of the way we successfully made it to the Atlantic Ocean on September 1st. LARABARs were an integral part of my daily fueling and in fact how I started each and every day this summer. By the end of our epic journey I had personally consumed over 400 LARABARS!!! Shamus had his fair share of LARABARs as well as he brought them along for snacks on the road as we ran and rolled together. As we made our way from coast to coast we donated TWENTY SEVEN running chairs to families along our route. LARABAR helped to make the chair donations a reality with a generous financial donation! 

The team from LARABAR truly played an essential role in making a 3200 mile run across the nation a complete success from fuel, to finances, to emotional support and cheering us on mile after mile...we couldn’t have done it without you!!!!

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