via TikTok

Timmy Zhou, 22, of Brooklyn, New York, ran all the way across the country—from Los Angeles to New York City—earlier this year. The 3,095-mile journey took him 88 days to complete, and he used the opportunity to raise more than $20,000 for wildlife conservation.

Q: Why’d you want to do this?

A: I was trying to figure out what the biggest running challenge I could think of was. I was like, “What’s the furthest distance I can find on a map?” An image of the entire country popped into my head.

Q: What was the run like?

A: Going into it, it feels like an adventure. And then reality sets in really, really fast. Afterward, you can appreciate what happened and reflect on it. But in the moment, you gotta fight your way through each day.

Q: What was the best part?

A: Day 31, going up to the highest point in the Rockies. I went up in a blizzard, but going down, it cleared and the view was great. Also having friends meet me; the miles always passed a lot faster every time somebody came out.

Q: What did you learn?

A: A big motivation to do this was to be outside and not be on a laptop every day. But during the more difficult moments on the road, I’d wish I could go back to my routine. If you’re trying to find contentment in something, you have to cultivate it where you are.