1Run, the project, began to develop a pattern. Run five days a week, stay in towns for meetings and talks the other two. His timeline was stretching, he was living on the road, but he felt like what he was doing was right.
“I would meet 50-year-old dads who said ‘When can I find time to run, I have a mortgage, a job, kids,’” Masiuk recalled from a conversation during his trip. “I told these people not to stall, get up now, all it takes is 30 seconds to make a change.”
He spoke from his own experience. “Wake up tomorrow, and you got another chance to change your habits,” he said. “You have the power to change your life, I learned that through struggle myself.”
In Chicago, Carrie Carlson, a mom whose 6-year-old son, Wyatt, was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, helped organize a presentation. The young boy heard Masiuk’s story and was amazed “at how somebody with diabetes can run across the country,” the mother related.
In Muscatine, Iowa, 1Run made a stop and Masiuk met a diabetic student at the University of Iowa who’d been following the cross-country run on Facebook. Masiuk gave the young woman detailed advice on how to deal with diabetes on a daily basis and keep it in check for athletic activities.
Trim, compact, a shaved head, calf muscles defined as he runs light on his feet, Masiuk is a picture of health. It wasn’t always this way. But running and fitness changed his life.
Today, his diabetes is more manageable than ever. His dependency on insulin and needles has waned. His diet — protein from milk and eggs, oatmeal, broccoli, cucumber, spinach, etc. — is exacting, adapted to promoting the best health he can obtain.
As 1Run worked its way east, now into the fall of 2012, people started paying attention. Towns anticipated his arrival. Radio interviews. Newspaper articles. “Runners World” picked up the story. Then Masiuk went viral on Reddit, where hundreds of commenters reacted to the “diabetic running across the USA.”
Seven months into the trip he ran into New York City. Manhattan was quiet as he started around sunrise on the last day. “I ran through Midtown and stopped at Times Square. It was early and very empty,” he recalled on his blog.
Masiuk continued, “I ran down Broadway and stopped to take a quick picture. I continued on and began to run over to Brooklyn, on the way passing by two apartments where I lived ten years ago. Never would I have guessed that this is where life would take me.”
Almost done. 3,375 miles behind him, just a few more to go. He wrote, “At 1:30, I began to run down the Coney Island Boardwalk. I had a few moments to think of what this was. Where it began. The people that made it possible and moments where I felt that if it was just for this one interaction, this one meeting and sharing with a person, the whole run was worth it.”
—Follow Masiuk and 1Run on the organization’s website or Facebook page. See all of the GearJunkie Epic winners on our channel for the award.