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Backward Running Man Arrives in Gilroy, Talks with Patch

It took a month for Shadrack Anderson to run backwards from Los Angeles to Gilroy.

The warm, garlicky breezes embraced the exuberant but calm Shadrack Anderson and his faithful friend and crewmember James White on Wednesday afternoon.

Anderson, 65, is at the tail end of a 500-mile journey running backwards from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Originally from Hawaii, Anderson relaxed after running from Prundale to Gilroy on Wednesday. They camped overnight in their Cruise America RV in the Plaza Gas Station parking lot near Monterey Road and Highway 101.

He shared stories of his amazing journey with the Gilroy Patch from his resting place on Wednesday.

Gilroy Patch: What was your itinerary for today?

Shadrack Anderson: I started in the city of Prunedale this morning. Seven o'clock this morning I started running and I stopped at 3:10. That’s a full eight-hour day.

Patch: What is your typical breakfast during your run?

Anderson: This morning I had a bowl of oatmeal, two bananas. I had what I call scrambled yeggs, which are onions, tomatoes and tofu. I had a piece of gluten free bread with some almond butter on it and some apricot jam.

Patch: What do eat when you’re running backwards?

Anderson: I don’t eat when I run but I use shots by one of my sponsors — Cliff Bar shots and Dr. Niedermaier antioxidants. I drink 9.7 PH water from Essentia. I actually run on spirit.

Patch: What do you mean running on spirit?

Anderson: When truckers pass me and blow their horns, it makes me feel energized just for another person to acknowledge that someone has saluted them and I get to salute back. So the spirit is between two people. It’s an exchange between two people. You make me feel good, I acknowledge you. I acknowledge you, you make me feel good. That’s basically what I run on.

Patch: So that’s what keeps you going mile after mile after mile. 

Anderson: I had a guy in Prunedale come out of a bar. He watched me for half a mile. He came out of the bar with a cold bottle of water and a cold towel. It was very hot yesterday. This man handed me the cold towel and said, “I like what you’re doing.” That’s the kind of thing that energizes me.

Patch: Where do you run?

Anderson: I run on the side of the freeway. You got a white line that separates the two lanes. Basically that’s a bike path. It gives me ten to twelve feet where I can run legally. The CHP has been absolutely great. They always know I’m there because they phone ahead and the CHP knows I’m coming. I take the side roads they tell me to take until I’m outside of town.

Patch: Do you ever look back when you run?

Anderson: I always observe, constantly looking to the right and to the left. To observe my terrain, to observe if there’s any obstruction. I have to be constantly aware what’s behind me because it could change any moment.

Patch: Do you ever run at night?

Anderson: On the freeways and interstate highways only during the day. I get up at sunrise so the truckers can see me, otherwise I’d be road kill if I didn’t do that. I do run at night when I’m in the cities on the city streets. I have to do that when I get to San Jose and San Francisco.

Patch: Do you plan to do more of these runs after San Francisco?

Anderson: I chose this run to begin a beginning. It’s not going to end. When I get to San Francisco it just begins. I do have more planned. It’s going to happen around the globe, actually. It’s amazing how resilient we can be as human beings.

What do you think of Anderson's backwards run? Pretty amazing that he's doing this at 65, right? We're happy he made it to Gilroy and had time to talk with us. Tell us what you think in the comments! 

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