Top Runner Completes Record Cross-Country Journey – Lisa Smith-Batchen Conquers 50 Miles in 50 States…In 62 Days

Lisa Smith-Batchen
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Lisa Smith-Batchen

The numbers alone are staggering: 2500 miles, 50 states, 62 days, 3 airline flights, 15 pair of shoes, and roughly 8 million footsteps. But however it’s measured, one thing is for certain–Lisa Smith-Batchen’s quest, named Running Hope Through America, has been successfully completed.

“I never strayed from the plan or the commitment to complete this mission. It’s been an amazing journey,” said Lisa upon completing the run in her hometown of Driggs, Idaho.


The ultramarathon champion, a veteran of extreme foot races worldwide, has multiple race wins to her credit. But nothing could prepare her–physically or mentally–for the strain that she faced during this recent cross-country odyssey. Logistics often demanded that she finish the day’s 50 miles, jump into her support RV, and eke out a few hours of sleep en route to the next state. Crushing fatigue threatened to derail her efforts, but Lisa was undeterred from accomplishing her record-setting goal.

The beneficiary of Lisa’s superhuman effort, Religious Teachers Filippini–a human-rights organization devoted to helping the poorest children and women survive–has received financial support from Lisa that tallies over $800,000 in the past five years alone. Using epic desert runs and bicycle rides, Lisa has inspired thousands of donors to support orphans and families affected by the worldwide AIDS crisis, malnutrition, poverty, and war.

For Running Hope Through America, the fundraising bar was raised substantially–to a goal of $1 million. Helping her accomplish that goal was Sister Mary Beth Lloyd, one of Lisa’s support crew and longtime friend. Sister Mary Beth, who herself ran 20 miles each day during Lisa’s journey, is a member of the Religious Teachers Filippini organization and served as one of Lisa’s biggest supporters.

A crew of 4 kept Lisa on schedule and provided food, beverages, massages, and moral support. Along the route, countless people joined Lisa–some to accompany her on foot, and others to help raise funds and awareness for the needs of orphans.

While final fundraising tallies are not yet totaled, the goal of raising $1 million will continue, through the work of Lisa’s organization, The Dreamchaser Foundation. “People are seeing the goodness behind helping a child, and even a dollar
makes a difference…and every one of us can make a difference,” says Lisa.

“This is definitely the most difficult undertaking I’ve ever done, and I can’t imagine I’ll take on anything more difficult. But at the end of the day, I feel absolute joy in
the entire purpose of this,” Lisa explains. “The greatest lesson is we are all in this together. Each one of us is equally important and equally gifted individuals. When you figure out your talents and motivations, and go for it, magic happens.”

To learn more about Lisa, her compelling success story, and Running Hope Through America, see and


Lisa’s athletic resume includes a mind-boggling list of triathlons, marathons, ultra-marathons, and adventure races that span two decades. Wins at the legendary Badwater Ultramarathon (135 miles through California’s Mojave Desert) and the Marathon des Sables (6-day stage race across Morocco’s Sahara Desert) top her list of running achievements. Eleven years after her Badwater debut, she decided to double the standard race distance, and is now the only woman to have completed the “Badwater Double,” also known as the “Death Valley 300.” In addition, Lisa has completed three Eco-Challenge (expedition-length) adventure races and multiple Ironman-distance triathlons and ultracycling (500+ mile) events.

Lisa’s accomplishments in the fundraising arena mirror her success in sport. To date, she has raised over $4.5 million for Religious Teachers Filippini.

Stories about Lisa’s achievements have appeared on the covers of The NY Times, The LA Times, The Washington Post, Running Times Magazine. Additionally, she has appeared in Runner’s World, Sports Illustrated for Women, ESPN Magazine, Outside Magazine, Ultrarunning and numerous other national and international publications. Television coverage has included segments on ESPN, Discovery Channel, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, NBC’s Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and Good Morning America.

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