A little over 18 months ago, on Memorial Day, I decided that I was going to try and run 1,000 miles in military combat boots to raise awareness for The Boot Campaign. I am overjoyed to say that yesterday at the BCS Marathon I ran my 1,000th mile as I crossed the finish line.
I don’t know if it was the humidity or my worn-out boots, but this was one of the toughest runs I have completed in the boots. I was doing awesome and staying right on my goal pace for the entire first half of the race. I had to stop to use the restroom at mile 6, and my legs were just not interested in running after that. By mile 10, almost every muscle in my legs was cramping, and at one point I was “running” so slowly that I got passed by a speed-walker. I was very excited to finally get to the huge hill that led down to Dartmouth, and I just sort of stumbled down the hill and turned to go down the homestretch. When I turned I heard the crowd cheering and finally spotted my friends and family and got one of the best surprises ever when I saw that they had made me a huge banner that said, “1000 miles, We Love You JP.” That is exactly what I needed to get myself to the finish line. It wasn't my best finish, but in the end I didn't really care anymore. I was glad to be done, and I was so happy that I had finally reached my goal.
Four half-marathons, a 10k, three 5ks, and all the training in between brought me to my 1,000 mile goal. It has been an incredibly humbling journey as countless blisters, a stress fracture, and Bryan/College Station heat and humidity caused me to take about 6 months longer than I had originally hoped.
I could not have done it without the immense support of all of my friends and family, especially my wife, Mary Joy. She has put up with me waking up super early, or as she likes to say, “in the middle of the night,” she has been my personal assistant when I could barely walk (like yesterday and today), and she has been at every single finish line that I have crossed, including the one I crossed most often, my front door. I couldn’t have done it without her.
I also what to thank everyone who has supported me in my other goal: to raise $1 for each mile that I ran. While we have not quite reached $1,000, we are very close and I think we can get there. The Boot Campaign is an awesome organization that provides much needed support to our veterans. If you are able to, please consider donating, and even better consider getting a pair of your own Boot Campaign boots so that you can have a tangible way of showing your support for our troops. Don’t worry though… you won’t be required to run 1,000 miles in them.