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Two Guys & A Fight – Phase 1 to Strength Hike 2014

Personal Post from Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO of Chalkboarder

I’ve had a dream for a couple years now. This dream goes to my core – it gives to the community. It’s complex and yet simple at the same time. I’d like to lay out the vision here for you.

Imagine a society where no child goes hungry.

I’ve subscribed to this vision since 1994, when I first participated with Share Our Strength. Share Our Strength is a U.S. nonprofit, dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger in the States. As a chef, I participated in numerous fund-raising events and instigated the launch of the Maine Chapter. I was fortunate to travel with Food Network Chefs and Share Our Strength to New Orleans just after Katrina. I have long been passionate about this organization and believe that this society can eradicate childhood hunger.

Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. — Muhammed Ali

That’s the background for this post.

I have a vision to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail (2650 miles) as a progressive fund-raiser for Share Our Strength. I’ve set my start date for March 15th, 2014, to finish by August 15th and to travel North-to-South, from Canada to Mexico.

Most PCT thru-hikers travel South to North, avoiding the remnants of winter on the northern half. My first pledger, Eric Stromquist of Oregon Culinary Institute, challenged me to travel South in exchange for being the first pledge. [thanks, Eric]

This is no easy venture. Snow in Washington/Oregon in March and April can be over six foot deep.

Here’s how the progressive fundraiser works. Every 300 miles, your pledge doubles. If you pledge one cent per mile to start, and I complete all 2650 miles, your pledge becomes $1405. I intend to sign up one-hundred pledging units before starting – which would make (if each started pledging at one-cent per mile) a total funds raise of $140,500.

At mile 2300, with one hundred pledgers (who started with me at one-cent per mile), the total pledge doubles – from $70,000 to $140,000 – with 350 miles left to complete. That’s motivating to finish!

You’re probably going “ok – but what does that have to do with boxing and fighting?” I’ll get to that in a moment…

In 1998, with my then girl-friend (now former wife), I hiked 1700 miles on the Appalachian Trail in five months. I have a good idea of the challenges I’m undertaking in this venture.

In 1998, I was 34. I’d been on my feet 14 hours a day as a chef and soldier for fifteen years. In 2014, I’ll be turning 50. Things are different now. Back then, I didn’t train for a long-distance hike. After a month, we were banging out 20+ mile days in succession. I cannot approach the PCT without training.

Phase One Training – Conditioning

Get in shape. Quit smoking. Increase endurance at high energy expenditures. Develop the body’s ability to avoid injury naturally and without thinking. Develop a high level of physical awareness.

I’ve partnered up with Coach Jana Simms of Jana Simms Boxing – part of one of the top Mixed Martial Arts gyms in the USA, Alive MMA. Jana has heard my vision and I am placing my trust in her to springboard me toward the Trail. In return, I’ll be launching two blogs that detail the training and the thru-hike. The first blog, called Two Guys & A Fight, will journalize my experience learning boxing, muay thai, gi jiu-jitsu and other forms of mixed martial arts.

Someone asked if I was going to fight. Yes, I will – when that time comes.

Phase Two Training – Skills

Long-distance endurance. Situational awareness. Back-country survival. Minimalist expeditions. Biathlon and expedition skiing. Marathons and parkour.

The Pacific Crest Trail is tough. It’s more remote than the Appalachian Trail and higher in elevation.

Medical care is harder to get too. Wild animals are more prevalent.

In 1998, I sought out B&Bs along the way. I traveled with a lot of gear. Gear and comfort slow you down. I’ve set a time limit of 5 months for this venture and will plan this trip as minimally as possible. Gear will be as light and minimal as possible in order to cover as much distance each day that I can.

Phase two focuses on distance endurance, survival skills, injury prevention and winter travel. It also focuses on being easily able to deal with danger – that’s where the sport of parkour comes in.

Phase Three Training – Logistics

Hiking plan, logistics, resupply points, gear. Continued training in MMA, extreme survival and long-distance endurance.

The final phase deals with planning and logistics. In this phase I’ll plan and purchase equipment, rest and resupply stops and conduct quick recon trips to short-hike key sections of the PCT.

By this phase, I’ll be able to hike a week of 20+ mile days with 50+ pounds on back.

Village and Vision

For pledgers, besides the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to eradicate childhood hunger, they will live vicariously through the hike.

I’ll be tweeting, blogging and sharing the entire venture, from phase one training to the actual five months of hiking from Canada to Mexico. Technology by 2014 will allow me to do a weekly “thru hike webinar check in”, post numerous videos from the trail, tweet images and thoughts – you name it. I’ve already launched a second blog, called Strength Hike 2014, where I journal this entire venture.

My intent is to 1) generate a sizeable contribution in the fight against childhood hunger and 2) build a tight-knit community of visionaries through the experience.

What I Ask For

I seek your encouragement.

I won’t be able to make this happen alone.

Please contact me at jkingman (at) chalkboarder.com anytime.

Strength Hike 2014 is 35 months away.