Sam has now crossed the state of Pennsylvania and after meeting with multiple environmental figures, find out about the shocking ban against the ban on plastic.

SAM BENCHEGHIB update on August 19th, 2019:

“I had never run a marathon before stepping into this project and the thought of running this much everyday has always been one of my major worries. So evidently, on day 23 after running 20 miles a day for three weeks straight and running 28 miles in one day to cap off the week, what a relief it was knowing I would take 2 days off in Pittsburgh.

Running 28 miles, a distance that surpasses a marathon, was definitely an accomplishment and reaching our biggest city yet, made the feeling even more rewarding. What made things even better was the hospitality we received while in Pittsburgh. We were kindly invited to stay with Dave and Beth Short, two amazingly generous souls who welcomed us into their homes for two days - a wonderful break from the RV life - and they even donated a Spanish racing bicycle to help us get around. (Dave actually cycled across the country a few years back!!)

While in Pittsburgh, as nice as it was to relax and not have to set a 6am alarm in the morning, it was tough to separate myself from the daily routine of running. So after a short break, I was craving to get back on the road. The main interest of taking these day breaks, however, is to organize meetings with local government and activists and environmental non-profits that are fighting everyday for a more sustainable future. In Pittsburgh, we met with PennFuture, an environmental non-profit that focuses on clean air, pure water and a healthy climate. They told us about the Marcellus shale, one of the largest shale formations in the United States, which holds approximately 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Unfortunately with this discovery, the Pittsburgh area in Pennsylvania is about to become home to Royal Dutch Shell’s 386-acre plant that will produce more than a million tons of plastic and employ 5,000 people - which evidently hurts any efforts made by PennFuture.

We left Pittsburgh well rested, but felt a little deceived that our timing was not the most optimal to meet other organizations since it was the last week of summer. From then on, the next few days were a struggle. My knee began hurting, the weather drastically changed and it began raining every day. But despite waking up tired and drowsy, I managed to convince myself to push through the pain and run my average 10 miles every morning. After a couple miles, I usually find my rhythm and things get easier.

Looking back on the past few days, it's interesting to understand my highs and lows. I left Pittsburgh on Monday with knee pain. When I crossed the PA border into WV and then Ohio that same day, my high kicked off again. I quickly thereafter reached the 500 mile mark and have since been doing a lot better, both personally on a physical level and on a productivity level as well. It's important to use these milestones as fuel and motivators to keep pushing. There will probably come many days when state lines and mile markers are far away so I will need to find positivity and motivation in smaller things. It is important to treasure every moment and realize that certain lows are part of life and we cannot let them dictate our lives. Just like during this run, there will be plenty of pain and bad days, but it is up to us to turn them around into better ones. Eyes on Columbus - capital of Ohio here we come !!!

Gary Bencheghib