Forty days after walking out of a Safeway in Seaside, Oregon, Dale Rule was greeted with open arms by his wife, children and friends at Sea World, in San Diego, Monday.
“If I can walk 1,360-plus miles in 40 days and put my body and my mind and my family through what I did, you can do anything,” Rule said. “You can do anything you set your mind to. Don’t let anyone ever tell you, ‘you can’t.’ And the ones who do and don’t believe in you, good. Feed off it. Let it fuel you. Let it drive you.”
The 44-year-old from Camas set out on this journey to raise awareness for health issues caused by obesity. He dreams of building fully-funded walking and athletic parks for people and communities to enjoy. He asks people to donate $1.50 month to this cause at www.everyonewalk.com.
“I just smile walking down the street looking at people all the time, wondering who’s next? Who’s going to do something crazy? Who’s going to do something that’s going to shock people? That’s why I do this,” Rule said. “The end is really the beginning now. Asking a million people to pledge $1.50 a month is no small task. It’s a huge ask, and I’m going to continue to ask for it.”
In total, Rule walked approximately 1,369.5 miles. He thanked his wife, Lya, for her love, encouragement and support.
His son, Jeffery, and Jeffery’s friend, Chandler Box, followed Rule on the road, cooked meals, and set up and took down the tent trailer they slept in.
Friends from back home met and walked with Rule in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. They also paid for hotel rooms to make sure Rule and the boys got a good night’s sleep.
“I hear from you every day that I’m an inspiration, but man you guys don’t even know how much of an inspiration you all are to me,” Rule said. “It’s incredible people like you that allow me to do this. You’re motivation for me. You’re a driving force for me every single day.”
As the days passed, Rule realized there was more to this walk than one man’s dream. It was a test of self worth.
“We don’t have a weight problem in America, we have a worth problem in America,” he said. “Look at the mirror and ask yourself, ‘do you love the person staring back at you?’ And if you can’t say ‘yes,’ you have to fix it.
“I battle it every day, but I fell in love with that guy in the mirror again so I could love my wife and love my kids,” Rule added. “And that love has only grown.”
Less than two months ago, Rule had a stint put in his heart. Through training, believing and relying on the support of family and friends, he walked all the way from Seaside to San Diego in 40 days. It’s a reminder to Rule that going for a walk every day saved his life.
“Even through all the mistakes and all the trials and everything I went through in my life, I honestly believe I was put on this Earth to make a difference. To have impact and to have influence,” he said. “I just had to make a whole lot of mistakes along the way, and I’m going to make a whole lot more along the way to continue to grow, and I love that.”