If slow and steady really does win the race, count Ernie Andrus as the world champion.
The 90-year-old World War II veteran started running/jogging/ambling across the country last October from San Diego. In June, when CBS News profiled him, he was in Payson, Ariz. And now, more than 10 months after he started, he has crossed into New Mexico, according to his Facebook page, which keeps his fans updated on his whereabouts.
Andrus, who runs three days a week, isn't sprinting straight across the country, per se. Each running day, he sets off, covers as much ground as his 90-year-old legs will carry him, and then catches a ride back to his RV. He drives to the spot he stopped running and chills out until he's ready to set off again.
While Andrus is in fantastic shape, he isn't shy about asking for help when he needs it. He told KPHO that hitchhiking back to his RV at the end of each run is no problem. "I know I can stick out my thumb and the first person to come by will give me a ride. They won’t pass up this old man out there, you know."
Andrus explains that his journey will end when he reaches the Atlantic Ocean, near Brunswick, Georgia, some two to four years down the line.
Is there a point to the run other than to make the rest of us feel incredibly lazy? Thankfully, yes. Via his official site:
This feat is being undertaken to raise money for the LST 325 SHIP MEMORIAL, INC. I was one of the crew that brought the LST 325 back from the Isle of Crete, Greece to the US in 2000, 2001 as aired on the history channel as The Return of LST 325. One thousand fifty one LSTs were built during World War II. The 325 is the only one left that has been restored and is still operational. Plans were being made to return the ship to Normandy for the D day memorial service (D day plus 70, 2014) and beach it at the same location where it was on Omaha beach 70 years before. The cost of taking this ship across the Atlantic and back is tremendous. Shortage of finances caused the 2014 trip to be canceled. Perhaps we can raise enough money for D Day plus 75 in 2019.
He keeps his fans updated on his exact location and even offers up his email address and cell phone number to people who may want to contact him.
Wish you could run along with Ernie? You can, just be prepared to move and not dawdle. He runs four to eight miles three days a week. Sometimes he runs with people, other times he does it solo. We suspect that the closer he gets to the Atlantic, the more companions he'll have cheering him on.
Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).
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