By Woodrow Polston
Last Wednesday morning, a film crew followed a man on a mission, as he crossed the Mississippi River bridge into Illinois. William Goodge, who is from London, England, is running from Los Angeles to New York City to raise funds to help fight cancer. With a goal of raising $500,000, Goodge said that he was currently closing in on $50,000 as he left Missouri.
“We have raised about $50,000 for cancer charities in the U.K and in the U.S. as of this morning,” said Goodge. “I am doing this for my mother, who passed away five and a half years ago after a battle with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma. I wasn’t doing anything particularly novel with my life before her battle. Afterward, I had to do something that would represent the amount of strength that she had. Cancer affects everybody in the world. Instead of my mother’s loss becoming just another sad story, I have decided to turn it into something positive in her honor, and show the world how strong she was with my actions,” he added.
With a plan to cross the country on foot in only 64 days, Goodge will hold the record for being the fastest Englishman to run across the U.S. in that time frame. Robbie Balenger, who is Goodge’s crew chief and pacer, said that he has been running as many as 64 miles a day.
“The plan was to run 50 miles a day, but he has been hitting as many as 64 in recent days,” said Balenger. “Yesterday was a 12 hour day to make that possible. When he needs to sleep, we have accommodations in the van and trailer for him and the other crew members. We also have the ability to cook and prepare meals on the go. Our adventure started on April 2, with a projected arrival date in Central Park on June 4,” he added.
Among the crewmembers assisting Goodge on his trip, are cinematographer James Tregaskis and documentary filmmaker Reece Robinson. As Goodge ran along Hwy. 54 toward Atlas, Ill., he was being filmed
as they glided down the road on roller skates. Balenger said that this was not Goodge’s first incredible feat.
“He ran from the top of Scotland to the bottom of England in 16 days in 2019. He participated in 48 marathons in 30 days in each county of England, and he was also in the Marathon Des Sables, which is considered the toughest footrace in the world in the Sahara Desert. In retrospect, these were all good training experiences for him leading up to this event,” said Balenger.
Burning as many as 7,000 to 8,000 calories a day, Goodge’s team has been working hard to keep him well fed and hydrated every step of the way. Balenger said that they have mastered the routine for his breaks along the way.
“We have got it down to a science,” said Balenger. “He is stopping about every six miles. On his first stop of the day he drinks a smoothie, on his second stop he eats a croissant with Nutella and jam, and he eats a breakfast sandwich on the third stop. Progressively throughout the day we prepare his meals with a lot of high quality food that keeps him going,” he added.
Balenger said that he met Goodge after he had completed the same cross-country run in 2019. Goodge had reached out to him on social media seeking advice for a European run that he was planning to embark on. From there, Balenger said that they became good friends.
For more information about Goodge’s run, you can check out the Youtube documentary “The Run Across America.” You may also donate at https://www.gofundme.com/f/wills-run-across-america-for-cancer.