By Charles Layton
Who is this man? Why is he jumping? And why should you care?
Well, his name is Björn Suneson and he’s walking all the way across America — from sea to shining sea. He’s already made the trek twice in recent years, but this time he’s chosen a route that will terminate right here in Ocean Grove. We should feel honored, right?
I read about him this week on the website of the Hancock County (Illinois) Journal-Pilot, which gave him a nice write-up when he passed through that place.
He is somewhere in Indiana now.
Suneson, 64, is from Stockholm, Sweden, where, until his retirement in 2010, he was an economics reporter for the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. He is in superb physical condition, having run at least one marathon every year since 1982, as well as many half marathons. He is married and has five children. According to his blog, his motto is: Keep on running!
He began his cross-country trek at Seaside, Oregon on March 20. He walks (and, much of the time, runs) while pushing a three-wheeled, customized stroller containing his belongings. He prefers to spend the nights in motels rather than campgrounds, because, he wrote on his blog, “I do not want to curl up sweaty in a sleeping bag and fight mosquitoes all night and then wake up with back pain, mosquito bites and start without having had any real breakfast.”
Suneson seems to like America. He told the Journal-Pilot that Americans are more encouraging than Europeans of such stunts as a cross-continental walk. “Americans are very willing to support a complete stranger and encourage me on my trip. People in Europe would say I’m crazy.”
The whole trip will take him about 100 days, Suneson estimates. By that reckoning, he and his stroller should arrive at the gates of Ocean Grove sometime in June.
When he gets here, I say we give him a huge welcome, maybe buy him a nice meal at one of our restaurants, maybe pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly.
Postscript: Oh, yeah, the reason Suneson is jumping in the photograph is, that’s what he does when he crosses into a new state. He jumps for joy.
You can find his blog at http://www.suneson.se/. It’s written in Swedish, but if you click the “in english” tab at the top right you can get a computer-generated English translation. He updates it often.