Kids Worldwide To Virtually Trek With Ultra-Endurance Athlete Through Germany
Paul Staso, Founder and President of The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation (P.A.C.E. being ‘Promoting Active Children Everywhere’), has run solo across the United States in 2006, solo across Montana in 2008, and solo through Alaska in 2009. Now, the 44-year-old husband, father of four, and ultra-endurance athlete will push a jogging stroller of gear and virtually trek with thousands of children worldwide over a 500-mile course through Germany between March 8 and March 30, 2010.
“The Germany challenge, called P.A.C.E. Trek 2010, is my way of trying to make an impact in the decline of youth health and fitness,” Staso says. “The trek through Germany will require me to average nearly a marathon per day for 21 days. I’ll be virtually traveling with teams of school children from across the U.S.A. as well as many other countries as they access my “online classroom”, www.pacetrek.com/germany, and learn about the locations we’re trekking through via my writings, pictures and media files.” Free school team registration is now open. For the most recent P.A.C.E. Trek (Alaska in May 2009), Staso had 22,515 school children from 10 countries participate – logging a cumulative distance of 118,002 miles during the three-week endeavor.
Through P.A.C.E., Staso has accomplished a 3,260-mile solo coast-to-coast run across the United States in 108 days; a 620-mile solo run across Montana in 20 days; and, a 500-mile solo run through Alaska in 18 days, virtually trekking with teams of school children using his unique approach to promoting youth health and fitness. To date, Staso has logged the equivalent of 168 marathons in 146 days of P.A.C.E. Treks, a total of 4,380 miles, averaging 30 miles per day.
“Since completing my solo run across America in October 2006, I’ve had opportunities to speak to many audiences about the purpose of P.A.C.E. and what I believe needs to be done to turn the tide on the continuing decline of youth health and fitness,” Staso says. “Kids need to see that if you take care of your body it can take you on some wonderful adventures far more satisfying than staring at a television or computer for hours on end. By the reactions I receive from children, I know that my message and endurance journeys intrigue and inspire many.”
Staso, a former 5th grade teacher, has developed an extensive web site at www.pacetrek.com so teachers and students globally, from kindergarten through 12th grade, can be involved in his annual treks. There is no cost for a school to register a P.A.C.E. Trek team and teachers can sign up teams at pacetrek.com until March 6, 2010. Public, private, charter, and military schools can sign up teams for free, as well as home school groups. “We’ve set it up so that teachers will have everything needed at the pacetrek.com web site and the Germany trek will not take any more than a few minutes per day for 17 school days in March 2010 – generally a commitment of less than 3 hours total,” Staso says.
The selection of Germany for the next P.A.C.E. Trek was decided after Staso was contacted by educators in Germany who teach at Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) and asked to consider a journey run there. Staso has had many DoDDS schools from numerous countries take part in his previous P.A.C.E. Trek endeavors. This will be the first P.A.C.E. challenge he’ll attempt outside of the United States.
“DoDDS schools have shown a lot of enthusiasm for P.A.C.E. over the past two years and I’m honored to have an opportunity to run through Germany and give assemblies at as many DoDDS schools as possible,” Staso said. “Several DoDDS schools in Germany will be contributing financially via their Parent-Teacher Associations in order for P.A.C.E. Trek 2010 to take place there.”
DoDDS schools are a network of schools, both primary and secondary, that serve dependents of United States military, and other non-U.S. personnel outside the United States. The schools themselves are operated by the Department of Defense Education Activity. DoDDS began operating schools in 1946.
Once again Staso will push a jogging stroller to carry essential equipment, including: food, water, GPS, computer/ video/camera equipment, running gear, and more, even a solar panel for charging electronic gadgets. Nightly lodging will primarily be at the homes of teachers and in hotels along the route. He will begin in the town of Grafenwöhr and run a course of 500 miles (805 kilometers) to the finish line in Landstuhl.
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation is sponsoring a $500.00 healthy school award which will be awarded to a participating school’s P.E. program via drawing after the journey is finished. Only those teams that report to Staso as having completed the 500-mile trek by 6 pm, PST, on March 30, 2010 will be eligible. Last year’s winner of the “P.A.C.E. Healthy School Award” was Hohenfels Elementary, a DoDDS school located in Hohenfels, Germany.
A 27-year resident of Missoula, Montana, Staso is committed to doing what he can to inspire, educate and motivate children toward greater health and fitness. Staso also wants kids to set personal goals and reach for their dreams. As he says, “Your dreams are beyond the horizon, and you have to persevere to the horizon in order to realize those dreams.” That is why Staso created the non-profit organization, The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation. He’s hoping to inspire children one milepost at a time.
When not on the road training for – or doing – a P.A.C.E. Trek, Staso oversees his public benefit foundation and develops virtual trek curriculums which many schools have either adopted or imitated, including a Run/Walk Across America trek (www.seeusrun.com); a fitness journey along historic U.S. Route 66 (www.kids66.com); and, a virtual national parks run through the Northwest U.S.A. (www.parksrun.com).
You can learn more about P.A.C.E. Trek 2010 and register school teams for free at www.pacetrek.com.