YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

What it's like to run across America, one step at a time

May 15, 2011|By Roy Wallack, Special to the Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Marshall Ulrich will discusses his life as an ultramarathoner during a live Web chat.
Marshall Ulrich will discusses his life as an ultramarathoner during a… (Brett Hochmuth / Eagle Eye…)

To what extremes can the human body be pushed? Ask ultramarathoner Marshall Ulrich in a live Web chat on Monday, May 16 at 11 a.m. Pacific time (1 p.m. CT, 2 p.m. ET). Ulrich ran 3,063.2 miles across the U.S., crossed Death Valley on foot a record 22 times and won the Badwater Ultramarathon four times. He's also the author of "Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America."

How did running across America from coast to coast in 52 days -- the third-fastest crossing of all time and the fastest by anyone over 40 years old -- compare to the other ultra-extreme events he's done, such as running the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon in 125-degree heat?

"It was so much harder than all the others," he said. "I had to average close to 60 miles day on my run across the country, and it seemed endless. All I had to look forward to was another 60-mile day. And that is unbelievably hard and worrisome, because the distance and cumulative wear and tear make every day like summit day on Mt. Everest. It's a 14- to 16-hour day where you can get injured and your body can fail at any time. Yet you can't afford to fail or even slow down. The pressure was on. I was trying to set a record. There was no relief. It was do or die."

Do you have a question for Marshall Ulrich? Email chat moderator Roy Wallack at and join the chat to see the answer.

Los Angeles Times Articles