Eagle resident running cross-country
Vail, CO Colorado
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Eagle resident Markus Mueller began the trip of a lifetime last week, aiming to travel from West Coast to East Coast – on foot.
Mueller was attempting a longtime goal by participating in the Trans-American Footrace, a 3,200 mile footrace starting in Los Angeles and ending in New York.
But Mueller’s first week in the race ended up being his last official one because of a stomach ailment. Battling sickness, he missed the cutoff in Sunday’s 51.3-mile stage, which ended in Kingman, Ariz., and he was disqualified from the race, said his wife, Brandi Resa.
Mueller will take a few days off to recover and will continue as an unofficial runner. He will hopefully run all of the rest of the race’s stages after those two to three days off, Resa said.
“His spirits are good,” Resa wrote in an email. “He has said from the beginning of signing up that it would be tough and your body can only take what your body can take. He is disappointed but still looking forward to the rest of the race as an unofficial participant.”-
Mueller read “Flanagan’s Run,” a novel about the first organized race across the continent, the 1928 Bunion Derby, in 1986.
“It’s probably the main source of inspiration for people doing things like this,” Mueller said before the race began. “In the beginning it was just a crazy idea, but then over the years I got into ultrarunning, I did my first footrace in Germany.”
Mueller did the Trans Germany race in 1998. He went on to complete the Trans Australia Footrace in 2001. He said there have been other races since then that didn’t fit his personal schedule, but now he will finally attempt his dream.
The race set off from Huntington Beach last Sunday. Mueller did some running in Death Valley a couple of weeks ago to get used to the heat he’ll experience in the first leg of the journey.
A car, which Mueller’s support crew will be following the route in, will carry his cooking gear to make dinner, extra Camelbaks full of water and extra pairs of shoes – 14 to be exact.
“My support will follow the route,” he said. “The race will provide eight stations throughout the day, but I don’t want to have to rely on that.”
Mueller’s crew members are two friends, retired road engineer Dan Baake and retired clinical psychologist Klaus Schumacher. Resa helped with a lot of the preparations and plans to meet him in New York, he said.
Eighteen runners of six nationalities will participate in the race. Mueller, a German native, is the only U.S. resident running. He thinks fewer American runners participate in the race because most of them are trail runners, but also because they don’t like to save the money to do it.
“It’s not the most cheapest thing you can do and you don’t really find sponsors for that kind of stuff. I always in my life liked to travel … not spend it on things like iPhones or televisions or any of that stuff,” he said. “But the other races there were quite more Americans involved than that. So something changed there.
“The Americans don’t have much vacation, that adds to that as well. Three months away from work is really long, even in Germany, I’m sure in Japan as well.”
Mueller has lived in Eagle with his wife for 3 1/2 years. The footrace lasts 70 days, ending just outside of Central Park in New York City. You can follow the race on LANYfootrace.com, or email Resa at email@example.com to get weekly updates about Mueller’s status.
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