go your own way

Forrest Gump is a film with many, many indelible scenes but one of my favorite is when dude just started jogging across America, while the song Go Your Own Way played in the background (btw, this movie has an amazing, amazing soundtrack).

Earlier today, as my editor was blasting GYOW on office speakers, I came across this news piece from the NY Daily News (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2010/03/15/2010-03-15_retired_queens_businessman_looks_to_make_forrest_gumplike_run_across_us_for_char.html)

Now I feel like jogging.

Retired Queens businessman looks to make Forrest Gump-like run across U.S. for charity

BY Leigh Remizowski

Monday, March 15th 2010, 4:59 PM

Grueling is as grueling does.

A retired Queens businessman will set out this week to match a cross-country run made famous by the fictional movie character Forrest Gump.

Beginning March 23, Yi-joo Kwon, 64, will attempt to run 3,500 miles from
Los Angeles to New York.

Kwon hopes to raise awareness about diabetes – a disease that nearly took his life – during the 110-day trek.

“I recovered from diabetes by running,” said Kwon, who retired from his clothing store in Flushing last year. “I want to show other people they can, too.”

In true Gump fashion, Kwon hopes locals will join him along his route, which passes through more than 50 cities and 17 states along mostly low-traffic roads.

“Right now it’s just me,” he said.

Kwon, who is 5-feet-2 and weighs about 125 pounds, topped out at around 185 pounds and nearly lost his sight. All of his teeth fell out. If he didn’t change his lifestyle, he knew he would die.

“I started walking, then jogging then running,” said Kwon, who was diagnosed in 1996 and ran his first marathon four years later. “I felt a special sense of achievement.”

He now has three 100-mile ultramarathons under his belt and finished his 100th regular marathon last week. He runs every day, eats with discipline and no longer requires insulin.

Kwon has been training for the Gump journey by running 30 miles almost every day for the last three months – often along the Hudson River or in Central Park with fellow members of the Korean Road Runners Club, which he founded in 2004.

“I feel ready, but I’m a little nervous,” Kwon said.

If all goes as planned, Kwon will run 30 miles a day and reach the White House on the Fourth of July. He expects to reach New York City five days later having burned through about 20 pairs of running shoes.

The marathoner’s wife, Bok Young Kwon, 59, will be there to watch his every stride. But she plans to follow her husband from the comfort of a car.

“I will try to run 5 miles with him every day to support him,” said his wife of 35 years.

After being diagnosed with diabetes, Kwon said he never would have believed that in just 14 years he would set off on a coast-to-coast run – especially at his age.

“I am 64 years old and I’m running 3,500 miles,” he said. “I am proud.”
The Health Department estimates about 530,000 adult New Yorkers know they have diabetes, while another 150,000 have it but don’t know. The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled in the last 10 years.

For more information, or to donate to fight diabetes or help fund Kwon’s run, visit go2marathon.org/english.html on the Web.


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