Rochester Runner Finds Pathway Caused by Troubles
When Rochester's Graham Correia answered his phone this time, unlike the last time we spoke, he wasn't out of breath, running through mountains 8,000 feet high.
Correia set out to run coast to coast, to meditate along the way and hopefully find the answer to the question that's been asked since the beginning: what's our real purpose for being here?
"I just completed my journey last Sunday, and to tell you the truth, the whole thing is like a big blur because it's still sinking in," he said.
"It was a roller coaster ride at the start. After three days, my one and only support for the entire run had to go back to California because of a family emergency," he said. "There I was, all by myself with a backpack, in freezing temperatures and different climates, running about 33 miles a day that lasted eight to 10 hours daily. Halfway across, the pain, anguish and tears were enough to stop me in my tracks, but something gets you to get up and start moving again. That 'something' I attribute to God, who helped me go through it."
One of the highlights of the entire experience was the encouragement he received every day from people along the route.
"In towns and cities, supporters would pay for my motel room or buy me a meal, without being asked," he said.
Correia said no matter how painful it got, it was goodhearted people across the country who helped inspire him to become a better person. He said he was grateful to the people who believed in him at the start, and there were not too many of them. In fact, Correia was criticized by some locals commenting on our first story.
It took Correia 72 days to run 2,010 miles, but did he stumble on what he set out find?
"Running across America helped me realize to fall in with the struggle instead of defying it," he said. "This journey taught me to start understanding the benefits of life's problems, and there's something much bigger going on. We're all here for a reason, and if you can find your purpose and accept it, then you'll be able to get an idea of an amazing calm that I never had before, and that I don't have to be afraid of anything anymore."