only 4,109 miles to go

The island of Tahiti is 4,109 miles from Los Angeles. Brad Light and I are going to run there. Intrigued? Good.

The concept is simple. It all springs from a seedling of an idea I had when training for the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon in Petaluma last summer. I felt so inspired and enlightened to experience the NorCal countryside not from the windows of my car, but with my two legs and a pair of sneakers, that I thought about starting another running blog wherein I would focus on running vis a vis traveling. I shortly realized, I’m dirt poor. What am I thinking? I don’t have money to travel. The best I could do would be to write about the exotic trails I discover on my voyage to Griffith Park. Not that exciting. But gosh darnit, I WANT to travel! Something I want more than anything in the world is to SEE the world. Yes I want to visit Greece, Turkey, China, Australia, Africa, South America, Antarctica, Iceland and on and on. The likelihood of traveling to all of these places and still being young enough to go for a jog when I get there, let alone write about it, unlikely.

Let me just move a few words around and that should solve the problem. If I can’t travel to all of the remote corners of the world and write about running when I get there, I’ll run to at least one remote corner of the world and write about getting there. So much more interesting to write about the journey anyway, don’t ya think?

So now the big question, when considering all remote corners of the globe, where do you go? Choose wisely, said the old knight to Indiana Jones. Indeed. Using our affinity for tropical locales as a means of narrowing the list, first we think Hawaii. I’ve always wanted to go there. I enjoy exotic flowers and sea turtles. I don’t know though, it seems a bit too conventional. Someone says tropical vacation and most people think Hawaii. Well, if I’m going to literally run by butt off I want to run to a place that most people never get to see; and besides, Brad has already been to Hawaii. Dream bigger Rebecca. Don’t you want to sleep in some straw hut on the crystalline waters of the far south Pacific, dive with sharks, and finally get someone to explain to you the difference between an atoll and a small island? Yes I do! Suddenly it occurs to me, like a lightning bolt, Tahiti. Who wouldn’t want to visit a place painted and immortalized by Gaugin? Plus it has such a nice ring to it. “Running to Tahiti” sounds so much more luscious than “Running to Maui.” That sounds like a bad Steven Seagal movie.

Destination secured, now how do we make this interesting?Immediately Brad has the brilliant idea to figure out exactly how many miles there are between Los Angeles and Tahiti and to run exactly that many miles, after which we get to go there. Talk about a payoff. If we want to make it in two years, here’s the math: 4,109 miles works out to about 2,055 miles a year. About 40 miles a week. What?? Ain’t no way I’m running 40 miles a week. Oh no! Dream crusher! *Sigh* Why does Tahiti have to be so far away? This means one of two things. Either we make a 4 year plan, which puts us in Tahiti sometime in 2015, or we combine our mileage. I’m not waiting until 2015 to get to Tahiti. The world could end by then. Morbid, I know, but hey that’s how my mind works. Combined mileage it is. 4,109 miles, 2055 miles a year, 40 miles week, divided by the two of us means 20 miles a week per person. So it’s more like a relay race to Tahiti. We’ll each run our portion to get there. At the end of two years, Brad Light and I will have run 4,109 miles combined, and will be sipping Mai-Tais on the beach to celebrate. Oh golly, I can hardly wait.

But wait, put on the brakes, another road block. Vacation in Tahiti? That’s not like going to Catalina. The road to Tahiti is paved with large dollar signs and again, me dirt poor. I shortly come up with a brilliant solution to all of our problems that will not only pave the way to riches, but will make the journey even more interesting and further motivate us to put on our sneaks everyday. We can make it a savings plan as well as a running schedule! Not only will we run the mileage per week to get there, but we’ll put a dollar amount to each mile so at the end of two years, we’ll have saved enough to make it happen. For every mile we run, we put $1 in a savings account. If we don’t run it, we don’t save it. Gotta run to save money, gotta have money to get to Tahiti. I figure $1 per mile should do the trick. $4,109 for a two person trip to Tahiti should be just about right. It’s like it was meant to be.

This has been a brief intro into what is sure to be a bonified adventure. Brad and I have to do 3-mile runs 5 days a week, plus a 5 miler on the weekend, for the next 2 years, in order to get to Tahiti. Wow. Good thing I enjoy it.

As if you thought this plan couldn’t possibly have any more synergy, after running 20 miles a week for the next two years, I’m going to look damn good in a bikini.


  1. I almost want to do 40mls a week so week can be there for New Years 2012…… After all, it is 2012. Maybe I could get you to go on a shark dive with me?

  2. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR BRILLIANT IDEA! I am so excited to follow your progress to Tahiti as Jason and I attempt to steal your brilliance and plan our trip to Greece.

  3. Just saw your blog on the Paul Gauguin FB page. As a two time traveler to French Polynesia, I thought I would offer some unsolicited advice. While Tahiti makes a great name for an accomplishment, it not the island I would go to if I were going to visit just one island. I’d do either Bora Bora (for the water) or Moorea (for the gorgeous island.) And I laughed when you said you hadnt been to Hawaii as I hadnt either and went to French Polynesia first too. When I later went to Hawaii I thought ‘what a dump. its like cleveland with coconuts.’ Once you have been to F.P. all other places pale in comparison.
    Also, be warned that F.P is expensive once you get there too. I am a notoriously cheap traveler. My husband and I actually brought some food with us to lessen the food bill. It can be $100 for 2 for breakfast. We saved our money for excursions like swimming with sharks and diving. The food is good in FP, just pricey.
    And just wait until you have been once. If you are willing to run that far to go the first time, you’ll be willing to sell all your belongings to go back again and see the other islands. I am currently trying to figure out how to get to Rangiroa and the Marquesas. I’ve been to Bora Bora twice, Moorea twice, Tahiti, Huahine, Tahaa, and Raietea.
    Best of luck!

    1. Thanks so much for reading! I love advice. And you definitely caught on to my plan. Mostly I just love the moniker “Running to Tahiti.” It sounds so pretty. In actuality we’ll probably only spend a day in Tahiti. Currently the plan is to do about 4 or 5 days in Moorea, and a few days on one other yet-to-be-determined island. Glad to hear you give Moorea a winning endorsement! My boyfriend is an avid scuba diver. That’s his main interest in going to FP, so if you have a recommendation for which island has the best scuba diving, let me know. Thanks again for reading!

  4. Rebecca!
    I just discovered your blog and am completely inspired by this idea! I may need to steal it once I am done with my own little adventure come June (check out MY blog: — is that poor blog etiquette to list my blog address in your comments section??)
    Keep pounding the pavement. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to do 40 miles in a week.
    Tanzania here I come!

    1. Yes please steal the idea! That would be my dream. I have another friend who is hoping to “run to Greece.” I have actually discovered your blog and it’s fantastic. I’m sort of in awe. Can’t believe the extremes of that Death Race or whatever it’s called that you’re going to do. I just recently decided to sign up for a mud run but I think that’s about as hardcore as I get. Thanks for reading and happy running!

      1. It starts with mud runs and next thing you know you are doing ultra marathons! I now have discount codes on my blog for several mud races. Check out the page link on the left hadn side.

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