A woman running from San Francisco to New York City to raise money for traumatic brain injury treatment is poised to finish her journey with a ceremony at New York City Hall on Tuesday.
Endurance athlete Jessica Goldman reached the George Washington Bridge west of Manhattan today and plans to make her final push into New York City Tuesday, she said. A ceremony is planned there between noon and 1 p.m.
Goldman said in a phone interview Monday that she could have made it to New York City a day or two ago, but she has been waiting so that others can join her for the last 13-mile leg of the journey Tuesday.
Weather and other issues prevented her from completing the trip in a record 63 days, which would have put her in New York on June 18, but she still managed to raise more than $12,000 for the Brain Injury Association of America as of Monday afternoon.
But she says that falling short of the world record is no reflection on her endurance.
She pointed out that the current record-holder ran a breezy 2,900 miles. Because of detours along the way, including bridges washing out and having to avoid routes that restrict pedestrians, she estimated her trip will be about 3,400 miles.
"They don't differentiate between supported and self-supported," Goldman said of Guinness World Records. "I was breaking the record of someone who wasn't pushing a cart."
To make matters worse, her navigation device blew off her cart on the second or third day of the trip during a desert "dust devil" mini-tornado, so from there she was navigating by her phone, her memory, paper maps, and friends.
For anyone taking on a similar undertaking she recommends, "Be prepared to be unprepared."
As Goldman crossed the country, she ran through 3-4 feet of snow in Colorado, alongside tornadoes in the Midwest and in sweltering heat and thunderstorms as she approached the East Coast. There is even a thunderstorm forecasted for her victory lap into New York City.
Along the way though, she has met people that made the trip worthwhile.
Her log of the trip on Facebook is adorned with pictures of people she's met, many who have run alongside her, and the beautiful sights she's encountered.
"I am exhausted and frustrated I keep having obstacles and situations that make my journey longer," she wrote last Monday from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. "But people like this make it very hard for me to ever contemplate giving up or to even stay down for very long."
Goldman said today that others have told her the stories posted on Facebook have "restored their faith in humanity."
Meanwhile, people have opened their homes for her to rest, hotels and bed and breakfasts have let her stay for free, and others have bought her dinner and supported her in numerous ways.
"Pretty much every day I met handfulls of people who came out and bring me cold drinks," she said.
She also drew notice for her fundraising efforts from people with traumatic brain injuries and their families, who came out and shared their stories with her as she ran.
In addition to the $12,000 and counting that she has already raised, Goldman plans to turn over the remainder of the more than $4,300 raised on her GoFundMe page for personal expenses on the trip to the Brain Injury Association as well -- but Goldman isn't saying just how much that might be yet.
Goldman, a New Hampshire native, departed following a ceremony at San Francisco City Hall on April 16 accompanied for the first two miles by the cross-country running team from Mercy High School in Burlingame.
Her fundraising page is available at biausa.donorpages.com/ForwardMotion