Davis resident Jared Choate is gearing up for his second trek across United States.
Choate, 31, ran across the country in 2010. Since then, he’s written a book about his adventures, “The Now Testament,” and is preparing for a second round of cross-country travel to promote his work. But this trip will be done by bike instead of on foot.
“I always wanted to run across the country, but I never thought I could do it,” Choate said.
The year 2010 was difficult for him, as he had spent several months unemployed and his savings were dwindling.
“At that point, I knew I could job-hunt and spend more money paying rent … or I could do the run,” he explained.
He set a start date for Sept. 1, 2010, in Surf City, N.J. He had spent the summer of 2010 training for the run, but quickly ran into trouble as he broke his big toe only a month before the start date.
“The first day I ran (since the injury) was the first day of the run … it was a lot of trial by error,” he recalled.
Choate ran alone, pushing a jogging stroller he named “Maybelline.” He was supported by his girlfriend Kelly, who later became his wife, who generated daily route maps and served as the runner’s “headquarters.”
Choate remembers sleeping in baseball dugouts and corn fields.
“Along the way I would camp wherever I could,” he recalled. “it was very brass-knuckled, low-budget.”
One night in Marlton, N.J., the manager of a McDonald’s surprised Choate by giving him a free dinner and allowing him to sleep in the play area of the restaurant.
“It was never planned that people would be gracious like that,” Choate said, adding that he was impressed by the kindness of strangers throughout his journey.
“There were a lot of worst-case scenarios, however,” he said.
In Ohio, Choate began suffering paralyzing shin splints and also lost his credit card.
“I had no money. There was this Western Union Bank in the next city 30 miles west, so if I ran 30 miles with shin splints I could get money, but if not, I couldn’t eat,” he said.
Choate took two breaks during his journey — the first to attend a friend’s wedding and the second to marry Kelly in Chicago and to recover from his shin splints. After two weeks of recovery and a brief honeymoon, Choate was off again to complete his run.
On Feb. 13, 2011, he reached the Pacific Ocean, just in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day with his wife. In the final days of Choate’s journey he experienced a homeless shelter, confronted a mountain lion and was kidnapped; all of these tales are detailed in his book.
“It’s not really a book about running,” Choate said. “It’s more about the experience and the people I met along the way. … I’ve had some friends call it ‘Fear and Running Across America.’ ”
Choate plans to begin his bike tour on Sept. 1, the third anniversary of the start of his run. “The Now Testament” is available for purchase on his website, www.jaredchoate.com.