SALT LAKE CITY -- When people talk about a runner’s high, it never quite looks the way it feels. For proof, just ask anyone who has been running as long as Joshua Bryant of Ogden.
“I seemed to have picked up some shin splints on my right leg. Old pains are coming back,” Bryant said.
As the typical work day started winding down on Thursday, Bryant was only about halfway through his in Salt Lake County. By 3:00 p.m., he had run nearly 30 miles, a small feat considering what he plans to accomplish by the weekend.
“It’s about 430 miles,” Bryant said, “I just got to push through it.”
On Saturday, Bryant turns 30 years old. But rather than just celebrate with cake and ice cream, he chose to focus on miles instead of years, with a long distance run from Arizona to Idaho.
“I thought it sounds like Josh, sounds like something he would do,” said Tyson Egbert, who is one of Bryant's friends.
A marathoner for years, Bryant is known for pushing himself on the road. Last year, he ran 100 miles for his 29th birthday, but his 30th is by far his biggest endeavor.
“It’s a really mentally challenging thing to do,” Egbert said, “It’s really incredible.”
Egbert helped Bryant push along a stroller of food and medical supplies Thursday as he came into the area. But they were also joined by some unexpected support.
“Truthfully, I just met Josh today actually,” said Ryan Delany, a local runner.
Posts online from family and friends caught the attention of the running community around the state, and as he passed through towns, complete strangers joined him.
“Last night, I decided to find him and help him out for a while,” said Maurine Lee, who ran with Bryant for a couple of hours Thursday.
Lee was followed closely by Bryant’s wife and three kids, who drove from Ogden to meet him on one of his last legs.
“It’s amazing, his mental capability to just deal with it, like, he hasn’t complained once. I would have been complaining from day one,” said his wife, Rachel Bryant.
With them by his side, he’s reaching his goal of Salt Lake City on Thursday. By Saturday, he plans to cross the finish line into Idaho and reach a new high by age 30.
“If you want to climb that mountain, you’re going to climb that mountain,” Bryant said. “You just have to want to do it and do it. Nothing is impossible.”