My first “Walk For 60” campaign began in Virginia Beach on April 4th, 2015. Over the next 191 days, I walked 3,250 miles and reached Baker Beach in San Francisco on October 11th, effectively connecting every step between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
My second walk started on April 12th, 2018 at Crescent Beach in Maine, and concluded in Seaside, Oregon, on September 8th. In 150 days I walked 3,402 miles. 1,100 of those miles were in Quebec and Ontario, Canada.
Walking is the simplest, purest form of transportation humans can partake in. Our fast-paced lifestyles, easy access to technology, and endless entertainment at our fingertips has caused society as a whole to drift away from the simplistic beauty of walking.
The simple act of walking has countless health benefits. Walking boosts brain power, improves heart health and memory power, promotes immune system health, and increases energy.
Disconnecting from the computer, television, or smart phone while taking a peaceful stroll through the neighborhood allows us to relax, get some fresh air, and reflect on our day, which are all beneficial activities for our overall psyche and mental health.
Additionally, walking allows us to reconnect with our surroundings and form stronger ties with our community. It’s tough to notice a neighbor’s beautiful garden when you’re speeding by their house on the way to work, and the chance of a pleasant interaction with someone you hardly know or don’t know at all go up dramatically when you’re on foot.
The experience during my first cross-country walk was nothing short of incredible, and I was blessed to be able to take on the challenge of another coast-to-coast walk. Although I had the same primary mission on my second walk, I gained a new perspective after some major life changes in the spring of 2017.
I developed a serious drinking problem in my 20's. It was an issue I ignored, even on my first walk. By the time I turned 30, I finally "put the plug in the jug," as they say, and devoted myself to sobriety. My last drink or drug was on May 14th, 2017. After 11 months of sobriety, God granted me the chance to walk across America again.
Other than my family and incredible support system, walking has been the most constant, healthy coping mechanism in my life. Walking has become more than a healthy and peaceful way to spend spare time for me - it has become a meditative and thought-provoking experience that has brought me closer with my Creator. In turn, walking has helped me grow as a person.
The ways that walking has transformed my life - and will continue to do so - is nothing short of incredible. I hope that the experiences I have shared with you on this page, on my blog, and through my other social media outlets encourage you to walk. No matter where you are in life, and no matter what difficulties you may be facing, walking can help.
Let's get out and walk, people!
Walking With a Purpose: Walk For 60
My name is Ben Clagett, and I'm a Colorado Springs native. I grew up exploring the Colorado mountains, wandering the bluffs that cut through the city, and playing golf. With my upbringing, it's no wonder I was drawn to an adventure like walking across America!
After graduating from Colorado State University in 2007, I spent much of my 20's traveling the states, and Canada, by car, bicycle, and eventually, on foot, while working a variety of jobs between trips.
I have the unique experience of walking across America twice - with two very different perspectives. I struggled with alcohol in my 20's, and was active in my addiction before, during, and after my first walk.
I got sober on May 14th, 2017. Sobriety became my number one priority. With the help of family and friends, I began my recovery. Walking, which became my healthiest coping mechanism, took on a whole new meaning for me. I started my second walk 11 months into sobriety.
I am a firm believer in the powers of walking. Whether you want to get healthier physically, mentally, or emotionally, walking can help. For those struggling with addiction, I am proof that walking can play an integral role in recovery.
I continue to promote walking and love sharing my story with people. A book about my experiences is in the works. More walking adventures (TBD) are also in the works....
2015 - Completed Route
The final route from my first walk across America, from Virginia Beach to Baker Beach, is pictured above. It took 191 days to walk 3,250 miles. I walked through Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California.
I walked through rural areas and small towns during most of the trip, but was able to walk some major cities, including Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky, St. Louis, Kansas City, Fort Collins, Salt Lake City, Carson City, and San Francisco.
The natural beauty along my route was incredible...I walked the Appalachians, Daniel Boone and Hoosier National Forests in the east, miles of farmland through the Midwest, and desert landscapes through much of Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada, before climbing the beautiful Sierra Nevada during my final week.
On my final day of the walk, I crossed the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
2018 - Completed Route
My second walk across America began at the Atlantic on Crescent Beach in Southern Maine. I left the ocean on April 12th.
I walked through chilly Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York before clearing customs and entering Quebec.
After six days in Quebec, I entered Ontario, and walked 1,000 miles across the massive province over the next six weeks.
I reentered the U.S. in Grand Portage, Minnesota, eventually walking through North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and finally, Oregon.
I completed my second walk on September 8th (my 32nd birthday) in Seaside, Oregon after 150 days and 3,402 miles of walking.
TEDx Talk - February 2017
I was given the incredible opportunity in 2017 to speak about my first walk across America at Furman University in Greenville, SC at their annual TEDx Conference. Summing up a 191 day adventure in nine minutes was a rewarding challenge!
I am available to speak about my two walks for a small fee. These presentations can be adapted to engage a variety of audiences, including church, business, and recovery groups, and students of any age.
Please contact me for more information!