The end of the year is always ripe with reflection, and closing in on the last few days of 2014, we’d like to shine a spotlight on these four amazing adventurers who all hail from the Bay Area (and maybe a little further beyond) who took their outdoor passions to a whole new level. From a runner who ran across the country to raise money for charity, to a legendary climber who rose to new heights in San Francisco, these hardy souls and their stories reflect the incredible, outdoorsy spirit of the Bay Area. Here’s to a 2015 that’s equally unforgettable.
Christina Lee | Ran 3,100 Miles Across the Country
When Lodi native Christina Lee finished college in New York in May, she set her sights on a bucket-list dream: to run across the country . And on December 6, after five months of running 3,100 miles while pushing a gear- and food-filled running stroller nicknamed Thor, Lee did just that, joined by family and friends as she ticked off the last few miles at Crissy Field with the Golden Gate Bridge in the backdrop.
But Lee’s incredible—and solitary —journey was more than a personal quest; she also raised more than $40,000 for the Navy SEAL Foundation. Her efforts earned her a strong following of awed fans on social media and a flurry of media attention, including the December cover of Runner’s World.
Sami Inkinen and Meredith Loring | Rowed 2,400 Miles to Hawaii
Dubbing their adventure the Fat Chance Row , this San Anselmo husband-and-wife team became the first couple to row from California to Hawaii—more than 2,400 miles in 45 days, breaking their expected date by two weeks.
More importantly, they managed not to divorce upon reaching shore, as noted by the final blog post documenting their nautical adventure: “Divorce papers are untouched in a waterproof container and Divorce-o-meter at zero at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.”
The couple, who arrived in Hawaii on August 2, rowed up to 21 hours per day on their specially built, carbon-fiber boat, which they named Roosevelt. Their excursion was unsupported, and the couple also raised more than $200,000 to support healthy, low-sugar diets via the Institute for Responsible Nutrition.
No word yet on what the ambitious couple will tackle next, but as of this posting, their trusty boat was up for sale—ready, perhaps, for its next set of rowers and records.
Alex Honnold | Urban Ascents in San Francisco
Ok, so this one might fall more into the category of publicity stunt than inspired adventure. Nevertheless, the day of “buildering” that Stride Health, a San Francisco-based health insurance company, drummed up with legendary climber and Sacramento native Alex Honnold was pretty epic.
The company, which recommends health care plans and is one of Honnold’s sponsors, met the world-famous free climber in San Francisco in June to film him as he scrambled, in his nonchalant, masterful style, up various landmarks, sculptures, and even a tree, at various spots around the city. They started off with some bouldering in Ocean Beach, moved on to the urban artwork that was displayed at Crissy Field (the best possible usage for those out-of-place pieces, in our humble opinion), and then tackled the Palace of Fine Arts and a brick building in the Financial District.
“I spend so much more time on rock where it’s so natural to me, whereas with buildings it’s much more of an adventure,” Honnold said of the experience.
(It’s not clear what kind of city permits and permissions the Stride team had to secure for such an event, but knowing San Francisco, we’d imagine there was some significant wrangling to make sure no caterpillars or the like were injured.)
Ronnie Goodman | Homeless Man Who Finished San Francisco Half Marathon
Need a source of inspiration for your next long run? Consider the amazing story of Ronnie Goodman , a homeless man in San Francisco who lists art and distance running as his passions in life. This year, Goodman ran the San Francisco Half Marathon, finishing with a time of 1:43. Donations from readers following a story in the San Francisco Chronicle covered the race’s $120 entry as well as a new pair of running shoes for Goodman, but the dedication required to train and the determination to cross the finish line were all him. Goodman, who has been sober for five years, also raised $10,000 for charity by donating one of his paintings for a raffle.