I love to travel. Over the years I’ve visited more than 40 countries across 5 continents. I love trying new foods, hearing and learning new languages, and learning about local history. But until last year I had seen very little of the United States.
I also love to run. That’s how my sister and I came up with the idea of a 50 States Challenge. We joined the 50 States Half Marathon Club, and starting in July 2018 we kicked off the challenge.
The Goal of Running in 50 States
We titled our challenge Mesibovs Run America. It’s a fun excuse to do something together, but it also allowed us to do a few other things:
- See more of the US beyond our corner of the Northeast
- Visit friends we rarely see
- Find something unique in all 50 states
So far we’ve run in 12 states, and the challenge is proving just as fun and successful as expected.
Surprises in the USA
The biggest surprise has been the beauty. I am an ocean person – a water child turned into a water-loving adult. My childhood summer memories are of the beach on Long Beach, NY, and the rivers in upstate New York. But I was startled by the beauty in the middle of the country. Sunrise through the fog in Tennessee and mountains in South Dakota stun me.
Here are my thoughts on the cities and states we’ve explored.
- New York: since I grew up in NY and have been nearly everywhere in the state, there weren’t many surprises here. But it was the first time I had friends cheering for me at the end. Turns out I like that!
- Tennessee: I was nervous when the race started and I couldn’t yet see the sun. But when we turned the corner at the first 1/4 mile and saw the sunrise over the Smoky Mountains, I was amazed. My family returned to the Smoky Mountains a few months later, and I’m hooked.
- Rhode Island: it wasn’t my first trip to Newport, but it was my first time running among the mansions and along the beach. Lovely.
- Massachusetts: my 3rd time on the Bay State course, but my first time realizing that a flat course doesn’t necessarily make it interesting. Tennessee and Rhode Island had me spoiled!
- Texas: I’ve been wanting to visit Austin for years, so this was a great opportunity. New flowers, different architecture, and great food… it’s exactly what I hoped for.
- Kansas: it’s been years since my family spent a terrifying month in Wichita, and I was keen to make a new memory – this time in Manhattan. Although I’m not in love with Manhattan, I did get a kick out of the Wizard of Oz themed race.
- North Carolina: for 4 years now my brother has lived in Asheville. I adore the city, and the Biltmore race is no exception. Expensive, yes, but the swag was great and we saw deer, lambs, and other animals as we ran through the estate. Absolutely jaw dropping.
- Maine: although it wasn’t my first visit to Portland, it was the first time I got to run along the port. Fishy smell, but worth it for the views.
- Connecticut: this was such a fun run! We found a small half marathon in Norwalk, only to find that most of the 120 attendees were part of a running group that had trained together all summer. Leafy green streets and lovely homes – just what you’d expect from CT.
- South Dakota: and here, I was inspired to write this post. I can not get over how gorgeous the Black Hills are. I will be back.
- California: this was my second trip to the Redwoods, and I was thrilled to share the joy with my sister. Plus, I was as awed as ever by their glory.
- Pennsylvania: I didn’t see much of PA, but I was charmed by Hershey’s home. I recommend checking it out – and of course going to the amusement park.
38 States to Go
Coming up next: South Carolina in December, Florida in January, and Alabama in February!