Running the Parks with Bill Sycalik and His GoPro
Photo by Bill Sycalik of the Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park.
This horror story is all too common: someone enters the corporate world, lives a life full of suits and slacks and slowly loses touch with their passions. It’s enough to drive anyone nuts. But a handful of lucky folks catch themselves slipping into the abyss just in time, and we can’t help but celebrate this kind of “success” story. It takes an extremely driven individual to take the more adventurous fork in life. And that is exactly what Bill Sycalik is, and this is his story.
Bill is an ex-New Yorker, ex-management consultant turned vegan, certified running coach and founder of the National Parks Marathon Project. When he started training for a marathon, he reconnected with the outdoors and took off from the office life at a full sprint.
At about the same time, Bill came across the National Park Services’ 100th anniversary #findyourpark campaign. That’s when the National Parks Marathon Project was born. Besides raising awareness about the parks, and the desire to preserve them, Bill says he wants to remind people how nature can heal stress, anxiety, turmoil, etc. So Bill is running a marathon in ALL 59 U.S. National Parks. That’s 1,545.8 miles in the most pristine, untouched wilderness across the states. Jealous is an understatement.
“Once that idea got in my head, it stuck because it was big enough, and it was interesting enough, and it was going to get me to 59 of the most beautiful places in the world,” he says.
In order to capture and share his journey, Bill turned to GoPro. Instead of tag-a-longs and heavy equipment, he simply grabs his HERO4 Silver and sets out on Ranger-approved, carefully selected, 26.2-mile treks.
“As I’m running, when I feel there is something interesting to capture, I turn the GoPro on,” he says. “I like the GoPro video because it captures more, and it’s a bit more flexible to mount for a scenery shot or turn around get some shots with me running in them.”
Check out some of Bill's favorite GoPro moments:
Sierra Nevada Mountains and Bearpaw Camp at Sequoia National Park. This is overlooking the Great Western Divide where my friend Nick and I turned around.
Running up to the Cinder Cone volcano at Lassen Volcanic National Park in California.
This is a shot of me going around a buffalo herd at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. I had to bushwhack a path up and over a bluff to avoid them.