Sea to Shining Sea: Navy Lt. Tackles Cross-Country Run

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It takes days to travel America's nearly 3,000 miles of scenic and expansive landscape between the East and West Coasts by car. One can only imagine the effort and the stamina to run that distance.

For Geoff Weber of Virginia Beach, Va. it's not something he's left to his imagination. He is actually running across the "Land of Opportunity" with a mission to break a world record and, as he says, "to give God glory."

Made to Run

Those who know Weber say running is in his veins.

"God's made Geoff to run," said Eric Sanzone, a community pastor at Grace Bible Church. "One of the things we talk about at Grace is using who God's made you to be and what he's given you for his glory ... so this is Geoff using who God uniquely shaped him to be."

For Weber, running is not just a test of physical endurance; it also serves a spiritual purpose.

"I feel like when I'm running it's me and God," he said.

Weber's competed in marathons and ultra-marathons. In 2005, he reclaimed his old world record, running 50 kilometers on a treadmill in 3 hours, 41 minutes and 53 seconds -a record which was later broken.

Now, the Navy lieutenant has set out to break another record by completing a transcontinental run in just 45 days.  Weber says it's something he has thought about since high school, when a teacher suggested he join the cross country team.

"Cool! They have that?" he recalled. "I thought he really meant, literally, I'm running across the country of America."

A Dream Reborn

Decades later, as a new Christian, Weber says the dream was rekindled after reading John Eldridge's book, Wild at Heart. Weber says it sparked a desire to be daring and a faith that requires taking risks.

"Whatever your faith leads you to do, it's sometimes bold; and it's sometimes wild at heart, and that's okay," he explained.

Friends and family say Weber has what it takes.

"I think he's a little bit crazy," Pastor Sanzone admitted. "And yet, because it's Geoff, it's believable."

American Adventure

CBN News Correspondent John Jessup caught up with Weber before he started his cross country adventure.  Jessup, also a runner, wondered if he could keep pace, but quickly gave up when Weber outlined his transcontinental plan.

Weber started April 23 in Santa Monica, Calif. averaging about 40 miles a day. By the time he reaches his final destination in New York, he will have made 45 night stops, gone through 45 care packages he previously mailed to 45 hotels along the route, and will have logged about 70 miles a day.

Weber, who has arthritis, believes God has a sense of humor.

"I have to laugh to myself thinking, 'Lord, what are you doing? You want me to take 4 million steps across this country? I can barely get out of bed in the morning?'" he said jokingly.

Bedrock of Support

Each of his steps, however, is girded in prayer. A team of men from his church helps Weber start the day with a 3:00 a.m. wake up call.

"We'll have a little prayer time - a little scripture, to help set him on the right foot," said friend Doug Hutchison.

Weber's run is a family affair. As a naval officer, his family is used to him being away at sea for months at a time. His wife, Nancy, believes this tour will be different. She thinks their family will grow stronger while Geoff grows closer to God.

"I know very well in these days when he's all alone running that he's going to be thinking of his family," she said. "It's sort of like where your quiet place is, or wherever God approaches you. I believe God speaks to my husband when he runs."

Nancy says his success won't be based on miles traveled or a new world record, but something she believes is much more important.

"I don't know where it goes. If he runs 10 steps or if he runs the whole way through, but I do know wherever he ends up is where God wants him to be, and that God will be glorified no matter what," she explained.

A Powerful Witness

The excitement is catching on.

"You're seeing a guy who is overtly saying 'I'm doing this for the glory of God no matter what happens,'" Hutchison said. "Now he's stepping out there and it's kind of a blessing to see other people who are shedding the fear because of the strong example."

So, if you happen to see Weber running through your state between now and June, you'll know his story. In the meantime, you can track his progress here.

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John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.