I can officially get over myself because this guy is RUNNING across country

I was sitting down last night at Barracuda Bob’s in Savannah, Georgia, having my fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits – I have become Southern – when a guy in running gear bounced in and sat down next to me. Nothing unusual because the Savannah Marathon was run that day. The streets were crawling with skinny tired people. Already seated to my right was Ben from Atlanta, with his girlfriend Nicole, who ran the half marathon course.
When I asked the new arrival if he had just completed the marathon, he told me he had no idea there was a marathon until he arrived in Savannah. He said he’s running from South Carolina to San Francisco.
Wait. What?
His name is Jeremy Schaefer, he’s a builder from Vermont, and running 50 to 60 miles a day, sometimes staying in cheap motels in sketchy parts of town, more often camping by the side of the road. Jeremy is running to raise awareness for mental illness, something that has affected his life. Running and other extreme sports have been his therapy. He’s hoping people will support the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Of course Ben and Nicole were in awe over this so I had to remind them that I am driving all over the country. Me! And I’m from New York, which shares a border with Vermont. In fact, I let them know, I had driven about 450 miles from South Florida just that day and my car does not even have the optional luxury package. Me and Jeremy are cut from the same cloth.
Jeremy politely accepted a beer but strongly refused my offer to buy him dinner. It was my deeply buried paternal instinct, wanting to feed him. He hasn’t even left the East Coast yet and he’s quite skinny.
To fuel himself, a sponsor provides MRE’s, meals ready to eat, developed for soldiers. He needs to eat 6000 calories a day. I don’t think Jeremy’s hitting his goal.
I’m going to become a marathon groupie. Hanging out with people who are on an endorphin high, malnourished and drinking tons of booze is fun.
By the time Jeremy, Ben, Nicole and I parted company we were hugging and promising to name our children after one another.
This being Veterans Day, it’s a good time to check out that NAMI website. Soldiers are population greatly affected by mental illness.
I asked Jeremy if there’s any way I could donate and support his run. He said no, he’s just happy to make friends and have some company along the way. His only effort to promote the run is by simply posting to Facebook for his friends, which I am now one of!
Without a support car, Jeremy has everything he needs in what looks to me like a baby runner. To paraphrase the movie Forrest Gump, which took place in Savannah, “Run, Jeremy. Run!”


Correction: I originally wrote that Jeremy started his run in Vermont when I should’ve wrote South Carolina. He is from Vermont but running from South Carolina to San Francisco.

12 thoughts on “I can officially get over myself because this guy is RUNNING across country

  1. You actually can make a donation. This is pulled from the Pretty Big Run Facebook Page:
    Ive been asked by many for a way to donate, and because the website isn’t up yet, and the only way to follow my progress so far is through the “Pretty big Run” link on Facebook. I talked with my bank http://onecu.org/, and if you’d like to donate, you can contact my local branch in Springfield Vt, and donate to Jeremy Schaefer, under the “One Foot At A Time Across America” account. Once again, thank you all so much for your support!!

  2. We’re so proud of you, Jeremy! Keep making friends and spreading awareness (and humbling the crap out of people, obvi). Also, NAMI is awesome.

  3. Way too Go Jeremy… My Brother Rented to him yrs ago and he gathered at several Family events. I’m a runner myself , So we would talk about our up coming events, He did the Tough Mudder Bare foot, That was wild to me and this man is doing a wonderful thing for everyone struggling with a Mental Illness . GOD BLESS YOU

    • That’s right, he told me he loves to run barefoot. Hates wearing shoes. I told him he better keep them in or get God knows what disease running on American highways.

  4. I’m actually working on a page for Jeremy to make donations easier. I will post it to his Facebook pages as well as here once it is up and running.

  5. great job Jeremy stay safe and have a great time and enjoy yourself and don’t forget about all of us at home in springfield vt GOOD LUCK

  6. Jeremy,Beyond impressed with your drive,determination but am now and always have been absolutely overwhelmed by the depth of your heart .

  7. Pingback: How to support Running Man Jeremy Schaefer | Steintrek

  8. Pingback: Top Ten Posts of 2013: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 | Steintrek

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