Dedicated fan bases are what sports are built upon; the desire to be there for your team or player and witness any history they make.
But would you spend four days on a bus going coast-to-coast for a few days of sporting action? Because that’s just what Jan Figueroa is doing.
The 24-year-old Puerto Rico-born retail worker is travelling from Tampa, Florida to Eugene, Oregon – a bus ride of over 3,500 miles (7,700km) – to watch this week’s World Athletics Championships.
“Only a crazy person would agree to do it and I’m as crazy as they come,” Figueroa told City A.M.
“I am travelling by bus there and back. It’s the World Championships on U.S. soil and that’s something that probably won’t happen for a very long time so I couldn’t miss it.
“I had the pleasure of being in Eugene for the NCAA Championships and USA Championships [which Figueroa flew to] so I had to finish it off and attend the World Championships as well.”
Figueroa grew up in Puerto Rico but has lived in Florida since he was 10 years old.
A master’s graduate in professional communications, Figueroa is especially excited to see the 1,500m events.
“It’s super dope that the Championships are in the US this year,” he added.
“I have a couple of friends competing in the 1,500m – national champion Cooper Teare and fellow middle distance runner Sinclaire Johnson – so I’m very excited to watch them race.
“I’m looking forward to watching a lot of the American athletes that I have looked up to but also get to see a lot of international athletes that I am a fan of as well.”
This is the first time the World Athletics Championships will be held in the United States and only the second time in North America – after Edmonton in 2001 – and the 30,000 capacity Hayward field has faced some concern over its ability to sell out day after day.
“I expect the US to take full advantage of this opportunity and hopefully they do such a great job that other major championships are hosted in the US,” Figueroa said.
“I think athletics is heading in the right direction and it’s growing at a rapid rate; as long as we keep bridging the gap between the sport and fans I think athletics can go big places.”
And on his recently completed trans-American journey?
“I’ve ridden a Greyhound bus before,” he added. “I have a lot of people who have been showing support and that makes the trip even more worth it.
“The buses can definitely be pretty cold and some people aren’t as friendly but I’ll be bringing my energy and sharing my story with everyone so hopefully I meet some more cool people [there and on the way back].”
Jan will no doubt enjoy the Eugene athletics meet, but trying to relax and watch track and field when you know there’s another 3,500 miles until you’re home again cannot be easy.
Follow Jan’s journey on Twitter at @janfigueroa07