For the past several months, drivers on Baseline Road in east Boulder County have sometimes been startled by the sight of Glen Turner running along the road pulling a trailer loaded with rocks, looking like some variation of Fred Flintstone. There is, however, a rhyme and a reason to Turner’s strange training regime.
Sunday, the Louisville stonemason embarks on a 55-day run across the United States. It is an effort that, if successful, will be the fastest unsupported, transcontinental run ever.
Turner’s 2,493-mile trip will start in Oceanside, Calif., and end in Savannah, Ga. He hopes to average at least 46 miles a day, for 55 consecutive days — or less. Making it all possible is the “seventh-generation” cart he designed and built.
The cart — nicknamed “Zzzoomer” — has a single wheel in the back and two wheels for turning in the front, brakes and can hold a lot of weight. During the day, Turner will run inside the middle of the cart, pulling it and all his gear — roughly 70 pounds. At night, Turner will sleep inside “Zzzoomer.”
What is perhaps most remarkable about Turner’s planned run is that it’s a training run for a proposed run around the world. Turner, 48, would start that journey in July and finish 2½ years later. That run is part of the World Run Project.
“I need to know I really can do it (the world run),” Turner said , “and I need to know I really want to do it. Two-and-a-half years is a long time to be away from family, friends and work.”
Turner knows he wants to run across the United States. He has been meticulous in his planning for this running adventure. He will have local kids following along online in community running teams at www.grtrunning.com. One goal is to inspire children to run.
Turner is a pleasant, outgoing fellow, as seen by the many friends he visited with while drinking a beer at a Boulder Trail Runner’s symposium last week at Sherpa’s restaurant. That gathering was one of Turner’s few nights out recently. He has been living an ascetic lifestyle, renting out his house and living in a renovated garage.
Turner sold most of his masonry tools to raise money, although last week he was still working. He was building stone pillars at Folsom Field, generating some last-minute funds. Turner has spent much of his savings building the latest incarnation of “Zzzoomer,” and is looking for sponsors for his run.
“I totally scaled down,” he said. “I am ready to go. I am in incredible shape right now.”
Turner, who excels in six- and 10-day races, is coming off a third-place finish in the three-day Race Across the Years in Phoenix, Ariz. As is the case in many of his runs, Turner got stronger as the race went on, clocking 83 miles on the third day. Only the world and U.S. 48-hour record holders beat him.
Turner is comfortable running incredibly long distances for days on end. Last summer, he spent three weeks in Denmark running 35 miles a day. That, too, was a test to see if he has the “right stuff” for a world run. Turner has shown many times he does indeed have the “right stuff” for a transcontinental and even a world run.
The key, Turner said, is “emptying” his mind.
“I listen to music and get into the feeling of what I need to do now. I don’t think about the rest of the world,” he said. “I am into my own form, my own breathing.”
There will be a bit of fun on his run across the country. Turner said the best part of running with the cart comes when he reaches the crest of a hill. Then, he sometimes hops on for a fast ride down.
“It’s a blast,” he said. “A real fun thing. I have been debating whether to do it on the (transcontinental) run. It is just too much fun not to.”
by Michael Sandrock