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Ultra-endurance runner addresses college students

The fifth person to run solo across America, Paul Staso, recently spoke to health and fitness students at Alexandria Technical and Community College. He described his 108-day journey and gave fitness tips. (Echo Press photo by Jessica Sly)

Paul Staso, the fifth person to run solo across the U.S. ocean to ocean, recently gave a presentation on his journey and fitness strategies to health and fitness students at Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC).

In 2006, at the age of 41, Staso did a solo and unsupported coast-to-coast run across America simply to keep a promise to his class of 97 5th graders at Russell Elementary School in Missoula, Montana.

Staso is the founder, president and an ultra-endurance runner of the Promoting Active Children Everywhere (P.A.C.E.) Fitness Foundation, Inc.

In his 2006 run across America, he ran a total of 3,260 miles from Oregon to Delaware in 180 days, averaging 30 miles per day.

Because he made the trip solo, he had to cart all of his food, water and gear in a stroller, which ended up weighing more than half of his own body weight. The stroller was affectionately dubbed Bob (a.k.a. Beast of Burden).

Since then, Staso has completed many P.A.C.E. runs, including a solo run across the Mojave Desert, two runs 620 miles across Montana and a run 500 miles across Germany, and he plans to keep on going.

Halfway through his presentation, Staso invited ATCC student Jasmine Stanton of Dalton to address her fellow students. In 2009, at the age of 16, Stanton became the youngest person to run across the U.S.

When she was 14, Stanton started to train with a retired Olympics coach to pursue her dream of competing as an athletic runner in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

However, when a close family friend employed by her mother’s company as a commercially licensed pilot car driver passed away from cancer in 2009, Stanton started aiming for a new goal.

She began a partnership with St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps uninsured truckers and those with a commercial driver’s license with daily living expenses.

With a passion to bring hope to truckers across America, Stanton put aside her Olympics dreams and decided to run cross-country across the U.S.

“When I have my mind set to something, I want to finish it,” she said.

And she did. Averaging 20 miles per day, she ran from September 1 to June 15 for a total of 3,161 miles from Los Angeles, California to New York, New York.

Along the way, she was encouraged by friends, family, strangers and Staso himself.

For more information about Staso and Stanton, visit their websites at or

Jessica Sly

Jessica Sly has been working as a content writer at the Echo Press since May 2012, contributing, proofreading and editing content for both the Echo and Osakis Review. A Wadena native, she graduated from Verndale High School in 2009 and worked that summer at the Wadena Pioneer Journal as an intern reporter. She attended Northwestern College in St. Paul (now the University of Northwestern - St. Paul), where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in writing and a minor in Bible. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the piano (and learning the violin), reading, writing novels, going to the movies, and exploring Alexandria.

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