Seventeen year old runs ‘from sea to shining sea’ barefoot
Seventeen year old Rae Heim sprinted barefoot into a McDonald’s parking lot, panting to catch her breath. One consequence of keeping hydrated was the fact that Heim would have to interrupt her running across America to go to the bathroom, and McDonald’s was the only one available.
“I stopped in McDonald’s because it was the only place that had a bathroom, and I left my stroller [that had all of my supplies in it] outside. On the side the stroller says ‘I’m running across America.’ Everyone inside was glaring at me, and one guy asked me if I really left my baby outside,” Heim said.
This is just one challenge that Heim has faced since she began her journey to run ‘from sea to shining sea’ barefoot on April 1, after graduating high school early. She stared in Boston, Massachusetts and hopes to reach her destination of Huntington Beach, California by November.
After she and her mother began to plan her trip, Heim began looking for a sponsor. Heim’s mother introduced her to the organization Soles4Souls.
“Soles4Souls is a Christian organization that was started in Tennessee that gives someone in a third world country a pair of shoes for every dollar donated,” Heim said.
According to the Soles4Souls website, “Soles4Souls facilitates the donations of shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide.”
“At first I was going to contact TOMS shoes to see if they would sponsor me and donate a pair of shoes for every mile I ran or something, but then I realized that Soles4Souls already gives a person in a third world country a pair of shoes for every dollar donated,” Heim said.
Heim feels that the charity is important because “in countries like that it’s kind of dangerous to walk around because it’s not as well kept up as the United States is.”
She hopes to raise $5,000, but admits that even more aid would help.
After hiking south to Maryland from Philadelphia, she stayed with the McGuirk family for four days before heading towards Pittsburg.
Mike McGuirk, father of sophomore Margaret McGuirk, helped organize the assembly at JC on April 23, for Heim to talk about her journey and the charity she is running for.
Junior track runner Rebecca Driver enjoyed Heim’s talk. “I thought it was really interesting, and the fact that she’s already run 350 miles makes me tired just thinking about it,” she said.
In addition to the charity aspect of Heim’s run, she is also excited for all of the places she is going to get to experience. “I ran through the Bronx in New York, so I don’t think anything can get scarier than that… I’m kind of excited to see Washington, D.C. because I’ve never seen it before,” Heim said.
Heim’s favorite part of her journey so far is the impact she has on other students. “When I was talking to middle school [students] on the second day after I started, all of the kids thought I was so inspirational,” Heim said.
Brianna Glase is a Managing Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.