PERRYSBURG – Twenty-four-year-old Katie Visco is stretching the definition of the phrase "cross
country" to span the continental United States.
Already in Perrysburg via Wooster on Thursday, the recent college grad hopes to become the youngest
female to run continuously across America. But her journey is about more than a record. As she treks
across state lines – pounding leather against pavement and stopping only briefly to make new friends and
spread her message along the way – Visco is building momentum for a campaign to help people identify
their personal dreams and then realize them. Although the goal is ambitious, she hopes to prove that
even a 3,200-mile, nine-month journey begins with one step.
Visco captures her mission to find a passion and pursue it within a tidy motto: "Pave your own
"People in America need inspiration to truly look within themselves to figure out – what do they
like to do, and how can they take steps toward achieving it, no matter what you like to do," said
Visco, of Illinois, during a break on her run to Monclova, Wauseon and later Toledo.
Her run began in Boston about 75 days ago, and she arrived in Ohio on May 29. This portion of the journey
spans from Warren, Ohio, to her hometown of Glen Ellyn, Ill. The run will end in San Diego with a
Beyond the run, she makes scheduled stops to speak at schools, community groups and other running
organizations about the importance of acting upon dreams. Visco also promotes Girls on the Run, an
international nonprofit that works to empower young girls through running.
And although every mile is conquered by foot, a college friend, Ellen Klemme, of Wooster, paves the way
ahead of Visco by a few miles in a van that contains supplies.
The pair keeps in contact with the outside world via a laptop and plans each leg of the journey about a
week in advance.
They pay for gas and infrequent stops at hotels – they save money by staying with friends and friendly
acquaintances – with money Visco saved by working and orchestrating fundraisers prior to her run. Since
she was not born into affluence, Visco said, the very possibility of her trip sends a powerful message:
There is a way to do the things one wants to do.
"A lot of people think I’m crazy, like, ‘Why do you want to do this,’" she said. "But when
I tell them why, a lot of them say thank you and that’s how I continually believe that people need this
She coordinates the run through her Web site, which includes routes, donation forms and a blog.
Follow Visco and Klemme on their journey online at