Full disclosure — I really like Adam Kimble. But even I, despite knowing him for 20 years from our baseball-playing days in Minooka, Ill., think he’s a little nutty.
That’s because in February, the 29-year-old will try and break the world record for the fastest crossing of the United States on foot— a time that currently sits at 46 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes.
“My motivation is three-fold,” Kimble said in an interview conducted by email. “I hope to break a record, inspire others to go after their seemingly ‘impossible’ goals, and raise money and awareness for impossible2Possible.”
Kimble and his wife Karen, who have been together since their days as students at Minooka Community High School, have experience in making “impossible” possible before.
In 2014, the couple left their full-time jobs to travel the world.
“I studied Sport Management at Northern Illinois University, and after graduating there in 2012 (Kimble earned a Masters degree), I started up right away at Red Frog Events as an Event Director” Kimble said. “I remained there for almost three years until we started traveling in 2015. We both liked our jobs (Karen was an accountant) and had great co-workers, but after a trip to New Zealand in 2014, we felt the travel bug and knew we had to take time off to see the world. We had never imagined doing something like that, so it was a shock to most of the people who know us.”
Kimble was always an athlete, playing baseball, basketball and football in high school. But it was his play as a catcher in baseball that helped him earn a scholarship to Bradley University after he graduated from Minooka in 2005.
It wasn’t until 2011 that he started running, and at that time it was nowhere near 50 miles a day.
“Karen and I got married that year,” Kimble said. “She wanted us to run a half marathon to get fit before the wedding. In retrospect, she created a monster!”
A monster, indeed. On his trip across country, Kimble will run 3,030 miles after departing from Los Angeles and cutting through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey en route to New York.
Kimble will run with a crew the entire journey — Karen, the couple’s friends, Adam and Lindsey Nubern, that they met while traveling in 2015, and two former co-worker’s of Kimble’s at Red Frog Events, Josh Mohr and Clayton Dorge.
With 46 days ahead of him, there is plenty of planning that has gone into Kimble’s journey. Like how much food he is going to need to consume every day.
“I’m going to be eating a lot to say the least,” Kimble said. “The plan right now is to be somewhere in the 6,000 to 8,000 calorie-per-day range, but we will modify if necessary. My diet is going to consist of foods such in carbs and protein.”
And what about nipple chaffing? Does Kimble wear bandaids to cure every runner’s worst nightmare?
“I don’t,” Kimble aid. “I use Trail Toes anti-friction cream (one of Kimble’s sponsors) and rub that on my nipples. I honestly use it on any areas of my body that might get chafed while I’m running.”
Despite his long mane, bearded face and man-of-the-elements appearance, Kimble plans to start the trip running against traffic, able to see things as they come at him. A tactic that might come in handy while in the southwest of the country and potentially encountering all sorts of wildlife. Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant” would be proud.
“I’m planning to see [‘The Revenant’] this weekend,” Kimble said. Tom Hardy is my favorite actor, and Leo is probably in my top five. I don’t have a specific plan for animal encounter, but I’m glad to know that two of our crew members (Clayton and Josh) have a background in wilderness training.”
If you’re thinking how Kimble and Karen are able to afford this, you’re asking the right questions. It hasn’t been easy and the trek across the country will cost around $10,000.
“We’re not trust-fund kids and we don’t have anything more than what we’ve saved,” Kimble said. “For us, it just came down to budgeting. We had two salaries, no children and we were renting an apartment so we didn’t have a mortgage. We sat down, looked at the x’s and o’s, and began to cut back on expenses wherever possible. We went out to eat less frequently, canceled cable, and made some other adjustments, and before we knew it, we had built up enough money to support ourselves for a year of traveling without jobs.”
After the completion of this journey — that will be the culmination of travels that included stops in China, Prague and more — the couple will try and find their way back into a more traditional life — just don’t expect it to be completely run-of-the-mill.
“A desk job would be a hard sell for both Karen and I, but if the right opportunity arises, we won’t pass it up. I know I’ll be working within the ultra-running community, and Karen is excited to combine her financial skills with her passion for the outdoors. We will definitely be satisfied, because this past year has taught us what truly makes us happy!”
And if you think you’ve heard this whole story before, maybe Kimble just is patterning his actions after a famous movie character.
“I am Forrest Gump,” Kimble said. “With a more purposeful reason for running across the U.S.”
Take a look at photos of Kimble from his time growing up in the Chicago suburbs below from Sun-Times Media archives.