US Route 66 . October 1st 2010 |
Fifty-six year-old John Radich is traveling 3,400 miles across the US via the famed Route 66, motivated by the desire to raise awareness and donations for The Way to Happiness Foundation. A non-profit organization founded in 1984, the Foundation guides youth and adults toward happier, more moral and fulfilling lives.
Radich’s route has a history that begins in 1928, when over 200 men entered the Transcontinental Foot Race, also known as the “Bunion Derby,” along Route 66. Starting at Ascot Speedway in Los Angeles and ending in Madison Square Garden in New York City, only 55 of the original 200 made it to the finish line.
But Radich is determined to make it for The Way to Happiness Foundation, which achieves its aims through various programs in schools and businesses, centered around the book after which the Foundation was named. The Way to Happiness is a secular, common sense moral guide containing 21 inspiring and applicable precepts by author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.
“I’ve been a supporter of The Way to Happiness Foundation since the 80’s and the booklet is phenomenal,” says Radich. “It’s great for any culture or creed. I have seen its influence and how it has helped handle a lack of trust and a lack of tolerance. These points are key things that we can all definitely improve upon and this book aids one in doing that.”
Though his purpose keeps him going, Radich admits it hasn’t been easy. He has endured blazing 115-degree weather, pouring rain, and the exhaustion of running an average of forty miles each day.
Yet for this marathon man the good days far outweigh the bad. “Ever since I read about the Bunion Derby in high school I’ve wanted to run across America,” says Radich. “There's so much history here on Route 66. People would travel west in search of a better life for themselves and their families. When I think of how many lives have been changed by following this one artery—that’s the kind of positive impact I hope to achieve by getting out the message of The Way to Happiness.”
As he advances along Route 66, Radich passes out free copies of The Way to Happiness booklets, which he restocks at strategic points along the way. He remarks that everyone he’s given the booklet to has positive feedback—whether a teacher, a police officer or a young person.
“I’ve had people tell me, ‘It’s so simple I can pass this on to my children, my dad, my brother or my son.’ Or someone will tell me after just briefly reading it, ‘My daughter needs to read this.’” When he encounters that kind of enthusiasm and success, John feels fulfilled and reinvigorated. “I am paving a little path to a road and a way for people,” he says.