Mark Robertson

Mark Robertson

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Cameron Balser finds himself during a run around America's perimeter

Cameron Balser has always considered himself a runner. Now, Balser has adopted the nickname "Bubba." That's because some people say he has become a modern-day Forrest Gump. In fact, on Oct. 9, 2023, Balser decided to go for a little run. He started in Cleveland, Ohio. He made it all the way to Kittery, Maine, and just like Forrest, Balser just kept going.

"Then, I went down through Salem, Massachusetts," Balser said. "I was there for Halloween, so that was interesting."

Next, it was down the east coast and around the Florida peninsula.

"When I came up, I actually went through the Everglades, so that was interesting," Balser said, "Actually, it was one of the most beautiful places I've been and less dangerous than I expected. I just stayed in the swamp. That's what's great about this," Balser said. "I would have never seen these places if I hadn't gone on this trip."

If you can't believe that somebody would do all this running for no particular season, Balser has a reason. He is running the perimeter of the United States, literally around the country, to spread joy and hope. It's something he discovered while running – that you're never too old to try something new. "It gave me a sense of hope, and I don't have any expectations or fear anymore every day. It's just like, 'it is what it is, and it's going to be beautiful no matter what.'"

"I just love to run," Balser said. "I am a minimalist kind of person, so I try to use the shoes as much as I can because I know I can get more out of them." With him is a stroller.

"A tarp, a sleeping bag, a little cooker thing that I can cook dehydrated food," Balser said. "My sister back at home, she does home-cooking and dehydrates it, so I can actually have homecooked meals. I have to say thank you to that!"

Also in the cart, Balser lugs around some battery packs, extra clothes and a water filter.

"I do filter my own water when I don't have access to water," Balser said.

Photo: Credit: Cameron Balser

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