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Nike's Forrest Gump: Ironman Jason Lester Crosses America for Nike

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 2, 2012 01:33 PM

Ultra endurance athlete Jason Lester doesn’t back down from a challenge. He’s in the middle of a massive one right now, crossing America – all 4,800 miles of it — on foot and by bicycle in 102 days so he can share the power of sport — and sponsor Nike's Better World vision — along the way to any who will listen.

The author of Running on Faith is in his late 30s and it’s a miracle that he’s even involved with sports at all anymore. He was left for dead at the age of 12 when he was hit by a car while out for a bike ride. He broke 21 bones and a lung collapsed. His right arm became partially paralyzed. While he was in the hospital recovering, his father and sole guardian had a heart attack and died.

But the kid stuck with it. He went back to playing sports the way he had before the accident and went to his local baseball all-star game the next year. Since then, he’s become an accomplished triathlete and the first disabled athlete to complete the Ultraman World Championships.

Now he’s on a different mission. And he’s got a powerhouse corporate sponsor in Nike, which is why his final destination is Nike's home turf of Oregon. Wearing Nike's state-of-the-art performance apparel and footwear, and its always-on FuelBand, Lester is stopping at Nike stores along the way to share his story, but of course, through the magic of the web, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (including his personal Twitter feed), Lester is filling the world in on his every move 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until he reaches the finish line.

The back-story to his journey, as noted on his blog and Nike's videos:

One year ago Nike reinforced the company’s commitment to sustainability in a very public way, releasing the Nike Better World manifesto and “100% Recycled Ads” video. Nike has just launched a new brand site (NikeBetterWorld.com). The mantra? serve the needs of the athlete and the planet by creating superior performance product with lower environmental impact, and make sport available to all. 3/19/2012, ultra-endurance athlete, Jason Lester, began the Journey for a Better World. Running/Biking from Niketown New York City to Eugene, Oregon, he will travel 4,800 miles across the United States over 102 days, relaying the Nike message that a better world starts with sport. Along the way, Jason will be stopping at 39 Nike Stores, sharing how sport inspires hope, instills discipline, raises confidence and rallies communities. Want to know where Jason Lester is traveling today? How fast he’s moving? How many Nike Fuel points he’s earned? Then follow NikeBetterWorld.com/journey – for real-time updates http://www.twitter.com/nikebetterworld Hashtags: #betterworld #journey

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