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Moving and Grooving: Balser is Literally Running Around the USA

Cam Balser is moving and grooving.

He’s moving and grooving. Cameron Balser embarked on a 12,000-mile journey starting Oct 9th in Cleveland, Ohio. At the time of the interview, he has traversed 5,015 miles and climbed 177,057 feet. He has been through 23 states averaging 39.4 miles a day. Cameron has gone through 14 pairs of shoes and burned 902,700 calories. He has purchased 30 bearings for his pulled-behind buggy, the “Kid Runner”, in 127 days of running. I had the opportunity to share a few miles with Cam in September 2023 at the Prairie on Fire Backyard Ultra. I was immediately taken by his vibe, the calm way he moved, and the smile on his face that day. You could tell he was in his element. He was doing what he loved.

In his Natural Element

He’s an inspiration to a lot, and most certainly, he’s an inspiration to me in my running journey. His mission “of moving and grooving” around the country has given me new hope in humanity as he travels America, sharing moments of love and joy as he makes his pilgrimage. He has shown me that we are all one and that so much love exists. Cameron is a beacon, showing us all that we are full of love. So, I got lucky enough and got the opportunity to sit down; well, I was sitting down; Cam was still on the road, which makes this interview even more special to me, so this is me and him, Cam in his natural element, moving and grooving at dusk on a rural Texas backroad.


Ultra-Running Journey

Q: How did your running and, ultimately, your ultra-running journey start

A: I started running in high school, primarily playing football, and quickly realized how important running was to me. My journey into ultra distance came when I had some personal things happening, and running was a way to handle that; during that, I fell in love with running, eventually running backyards, 100 miles, and then eventually 200 miles. Then, that led me to this mission of spreading love and “literally running around the country.”

A Typical Day

Q: Please give me a rundown of your typical day.

A: A pretty standard routine for the most part. I get up and take in what I need to get done for the day, then obviously drink coffee. Coffee has become such a massive part of my day. Start getting my gear together in my Kid Runner and hit the road for the day.

It Takes a Tribe

Q: It takes a tribe. I love how everyone pulls together to support you on this journey. Tell me about the support from your track club and your family.

A: It’s just amazing how my family has come together. My sister back home has been providing me with dehydrated food, and my mom has basically become a logistics expert trying to get me supplies. Amazingly, we get to utilize technology and stay in touch; those talks with them greatly help. Having my boys from the Meshigomeshia Track Club join me in Alabama for a bit was awesome. It’s incredible how people have opened their homes to me; out of 127 odd days, I’ve had a place to stay like 50 of those nights because of the great hospitality everywhere I go.

Running and Yourself

Q: What have you learned about running and yourself during your journey?

A: “I’ve learned you are capable of way more than you think once you realize you are the only one holding you back. There is so much love and beauty out here that I would never have been able to see if I had never taken the first step.

The Kid Runner

Q: Tell me a bit about gear needs and nutrition.

A: The Kid Runner is the most essential gear in my journey. I’ve become an expert at changing bearings and tires; I barely knew what bearings were before this. Now, I can change them out in minutes. Everything is in the Kid Runner, clothes, air mattresses, food, and water. Water filters are very important in Texas at this point. My water drops can be upwards of up to 50 miles; when you go that far without fresh water, you realize quickly how vital clean water is. For lunch, I usually google what’s close or local or ask people I encounter. That way, I can really sample the local fare. For other meals, I have a lot of dehydrated meals and snacks my family has been preparing and sending me.

Spreading the Love

Q: Talk to me about your message about spreading the love and the ethos or spirit behind moving and grooving.

A: I find it amazing how small the world gets when you put yourself out there. I love how people have connected on this journey, the support system I have from my friends and family, and the connections people have made on social media. The community is excellent. It’s become like a family reunion.

Words of Wisdom

Q: What words of wisdom do you have for the new ultra-distance runners or anyone else curious about starting a journey similar to yours?

A: Make sure you are enjoying yourself and keep your training enjoyable. If it becomes a chore, you are doing yourself a disservice and won’t get anything from your training.

Inside All of Us

I think I went into this wanting to know more about Cam for myself, learn what makes him tick for my own edification, and draw whatever it is that makes him have all the right stuff to do such amazing things.  What I learned from him is interview that the right stuff is inside all of us we just need to get out of our own way find the love that’s in us and not to be afraid to take the first step. I’m looking forward to next year, Prairie on Fire Backyard Ultra, where I hope we can continue this story and learn more about the other half of his journey. See you then, Cam. Let’s get after that 100-mile goal! Let’s keep moving and grooving!

Forever yours from the trail, Joe


Joe Hardin Author Run Tri Bike

Joe Hardin is a father of two, a lover of the trails, and a new ultra-distance runner. By day, he is a research and development technician; by night, he is an aspiring artist and writer. He is also an advocate for addiction recovery, inclusivity in endurance sports and a plant-based lifestyle.