WARSAW, IN (WSBT/CNN) - With nothing but the backpack on her back, Rae Heim, 18, has already run nearly 1,000 miles through 11 states. And she's almost halfway to her destination.
"The first day I did 44 miles. It was about the fourth day when I wanted to completely stop. But, when things start getting difficult I just think about why I'm doing it. And it makes it worth it," Heim said.
Heim is running barefoot across America for a charity called Soles4Souls.
"I was running barefoot so others don't have to. Every dollar that gets donated to the charity, someone will get a pair of shoes," Heim said. "It's actually way more comfortable for me to run barefoot than with shoes on. So, that part's not actually that difficult for me. But I guess the most difficult part is just waking up and going to sleep every night knowing that I have to get up and run 20 to 22 miles each day."
When she gets tired, she walks, and when it's necessary, she puts on shoes.
"The cement was starting to get so hot that it was kind of melting onto my feet," she said. "I ran through the Bronx in New York City and nothing since then has fazed me much."
When she needs encouragement, it's always just a few steps ahead.
"I kind of enjoy looking at the map, and just seeing that I've come a decently far way. Now, I'm like, I can't give up, even if I wanted to. Just 'cause I've gotten this far," she said.
Heim started her journey in Boston back in April, and is expected to end in Southern California in November.