On June 15, 2008, Colombian professor and mathematician Henry Sanchez took off his shoes at South America's southernmost point and started running. Now the barefoot ultramarathoner is approaching the U.S.-Mexico border. Final destination? Alaska.
The Forrest Gump reference is easy to make, but Sanchez is hardly running for running's sake. The shoeless missionary has been spreading the good word of green in each of the 14 countries that he's jogged through. With the help of local organizations, people in South and Central America have planted 7 million trees in his wake.
Though the campaign's biggest success has been replanting some of the world's most crucial forests, its scope is even bigger. In addition to those trees planted, Sanchez helped recycle more than 2,000 tons of waste and kick-started anti-pollution and clean-transit plans. Running barefoot and toting just a few personal effects, he hopes to encourage a return to simplicity.