Iowan Runs Barefoot from Coast to Coast - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Iowan Runs Barefoot from Coast to Coast

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Jessica Daley


A young woman from Carroll is making a personal adventure from ocean to ocean a chance to help people in need. 
Rae Heim is taking on the highways and trails of America. The 18-year-old graduated high school early and was looking for an adventure.

"I love running," she said. She got the idea to put her love into action in a big way exploring and experiencing the entire country, barefoot nonetheless. 
"I broke my toe, and I had to have the toe nail removed. So that's why I started running barefoot because it was just uncomfortable to wear shoes," Rae explained.

Her feet are calloused and a bit dirty, but otherwise, she said they're holding up well. The biggest problem is when the pavement heats up.

"Your feet kind of start to melt, so I'll just throw on a pair of toe socks in order to not have to deal with that as badly."

Her mom and sister sometimes bike alongside her giving her company. But when they're not around, she stays with friends of friends.

"Meeting all of the new people I've met along the way has been really great."

This adventure isn't just for Rae. While she chooses to be shoeless, she knows some people don't have a choice. She's teamed up with the organization Soles4Souls who puts shoes on the feet of people in need.

"I like that 55% of it stays here [America], and I really like that literally every single dollar equals one pair of shoes," Rae said.

She'll probably never know exactly how many people she's helped, but the few she does know have meant the world to her.

"He was telling me that I totally inspired his kid to continue in cross country. That was just, that made everything worth it. It was so awesome."
Rae will finish her trek in November in California. Once she's done running she hopes to start writing a book about her adventure.

You can check out her blog and learn how to donate to Soles4Souls here.

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