Florida man catching plenty of waves in run for a cause
INDIANOLA, Neb. — Nebraska has impressed the “blue-haired, mohawk dude” running coast-to-coast to raise funds to combat childhood sexual abuse.
“Everyone here waves,” says a grinning Christian Griffith of Jackson Beach, Fla.. who entered Nebraska at Blair earlier in the week, and ate lunch in Indianola Wednesday, June 6.
“One finger off the steering wheel … the whole arm out the window … the truck driver, the farmer, the locals … the ol’ lady in the Buick, ya know … “ he laughed. “Everyone waves!” He mimics the whole-arm wave his own tattooed one — he enjoys waving back at the people he shares the roads with. But try runnin’ and waving’ for 30-34 miles each day, five days a week. “My arm’s tired at the end of the day!” he laughed.
“I love the Midwest,” Christian said, after eating lunch at Ag Valley on Highway 6&34 in Indianola Wednesday. “The people here are the shining star. I call it ‘human currency,” Christian explained. “Everyone who waves, who greets me … everyone who supports me … everyone who stops and shares his story or hands me a donation … that’s what keeps me going.”
He continues, “It’s not normal to see a ‘blue-haired, mohawk dude’ running 34 miles a day, every day. But it’s not the purely physical part of the (3,000-mile) run that motivates me,” he said. “It’s the mental and emotional ‘human currency’ that drives me,” he says.
Another “Midwestern thing” that Christian is enjoying is the population signs on small-town after small-town. “The smallest so far has been Funk, with only 120 people,” he said. He’s surprised that there are smaller … Danbury, 101; Lebanon, 80; Max, 57 … Parks, 23 …
From the highways, Christian is aware of the impact of agriculture everywhere. Just after starting his run in March in New York, a nor-easter’ blew in and all the fields were covered with snow, he said. A little later, he talked to a farmer in Ohio who was concerned with the long winter … Now through Indiana and Illinois and Iowa, he’s watching the fields turn green and the corn grow taller and taller. “It’s almost knee-high here,” he said.
Christian says he lives by the philosophy of an ultra-endurance athlete: “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice.”
He admits he’s often running in pain. “I’m taking a beatin’,” he says. But he keeps his head up, keeps putting one foot in front of the other, enjoys the countryside, and with his driver Adam Warwinsky and close friend Richard Morgan, from the British Virgin Islands, he’s enjoying his run.
“I am having fun, without a doubt,” Christian says. “Without it, I couldn’t make it.”
Griffith, who is an ultra-endurance athlete and participant in major TV endurance shows, left New York City on March 19 and will run into San Francisco on Aug. 23.
“Run2Heal” provides a platform for survivors of childhood sexual assault and abuse to break the silence and stigma that surrounds talking about child abuse and to amplify an open discussion of this critical aspect of protecting children. Griffith says, “The only way to stop this abuse is to get people talking about it — loudly!”
The goal of Griffith’s cross-country run is to encourage people to break the stigma of speaking out, elevate awareness about the staggering scope of this problem and raise $1 million to combat child abuse. Worldwide, an estimated 40 million children are subjected to abuse each year. As adults, people who have suffered from childhood abuse are at increased risk for behavioral, physical, and mental health problems.
Griffith believes, “Speaking out and seeking treatment are crucial for recovery.”
To learn more about “Help For Children” and Griffith’s run, visit: https://run2heal.hfc.org