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iFit Member Highlight: Jaffa Brown

Emily Fredrick

READ TIME:3 min.

Ever dreamed of running the United States, coast to coast? That’s exactly what 42-year-old Jaffa Brown did when he began his iFit journey in 2013. Here’s his incredible story:

In 2010, I started running. Like many people my age, I took to the streets with great enthusiasm. This enthusiasm started to diminish around four months later, as the rain, snow, and running the same routes over and over again led to boredom.

About a year later, I switched to an indoor treadmill. This removed the problem with the weather, but the boredom continued. I fitted a T.V. to watch the news as I ran (which most gyms seem to have as the channel of choice), but the news was pretty depressing.

Then, at the start of 2013, my treadmill broke, and I went shopping for a new one. That’s when I first discovered iFit. iFit allows you to run virtual runs around the world using Google Maps™ Street View integration. You get to see where you are virtually running. When the street goes up a hill, the treadmill changes the incline. This seemed to be the answer for me, so I put one on order.

When it arrived, I set it up and connected iFit to the Internet. The T.V. that I used to view the news on was switched over to the iFit website, which would then show the streets as I ran. I was ready to go. I did a couple of runs using the daily recommendations (Rome and a beach somewhere, as I recall), and it was great! As I ran, the image in front of me showed the streets of Rome that I was virtually running down. This was what I needed to keep me motivated—so much better than the latest headlines about wars and scandals.

“During the evening after my second run, my wife and I sat down to watch a movie. Her choice was “Forrest Gump.” We had seen the movie a few times in the past, but this time it was different. You know that scene where Forest’s mum has just died, and he “just starts running?” It stirred me. In the film, he says, “That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason, I just kept on going.”

That’s when I decided—I would follow Forrest and virtually run across America. Because…well, why not?

On March 22, 2013, I planned my first run of four miles using the iFit custom map-based workouts. I started in the Redwoods north of San Francisco. The next day, I planned my run to start where I’d had finished the day before and headed south through the city for another four miles. And so it continued. My route took me down and through some interesting places: down into Los Angeles, up to Las Vegas, around and into the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Dallas, Memphis, Nashville, then up and through Washington D.C., Philadelphia (yes, I did a virtual run up Rocky’s steps), and then up to NYC. On Thursday, February 13, 2020, I reached the edge of Battery Park, looking out at the Statue of Liberty and the Atlantic Ocean. Coast to coast. Done!

My life with iFit has been a very pleasant and rewarding experience. In the early days, the software was new, and sometimes there were bumps in the process (a few days where the servers were down or the software was unreliable), but iFit has worked out the kinks, and it works like a dream. And seeing those places as I ran kept me motivated more than running the same old routes day after day after day.

So I did it—coast to coast. Like Forrest. But what now? Well, Forrest Gump said it right when he said, “I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, and just keep on going.” And that’s just what I am going to do.

Up through Manhattan, up into New Hampshire, then a sharp left turn via Boston and Chicago, then back to San Francisco where it all started.

We are SO PROUD of Jaffa! We’re excited to see what you’re going to do next. Keep us updated with your incredible fitness journey.

Run, Jaffa, run!

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