Marine Veteran Runs 1,000 Miles With American Flag for Great Cause

by Quentin Blount
Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

One marine veteran in North Carolina has run more than 1,000 miles to help raise money to build a home for a veteran out on the streets.

Russell Larkins understands the struggles that military veterans go through all too well. After all, he served for four years in the Marine Corps. He was an infantry squad leader in Afghanistan.

Some veterans who serve time overseas come home with physical scars. Meanwhile, others come back with mental ones. All too often, our veterans get left out to dry, without being able to get the proper help they need to come back and function normally in society. In the end, many of them wind up homeless and living on the streets. Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries have been linked with homelessness.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, there were more than 37,000 homeless veterans in the country in 2020.

As for marine veteran Russell Larkins, he started running once he got out. He was able to use it as his own type of therapy, and as an added bonus, he realized he could run to help out his fellow soldiers as well.

“I was really inspired to start running again when the 13 service members were killed in Afghanistan,” he explained to Spectrum News 1. “So, I ran 30 miles a day for 13 days straight for them.”

Marine Veteran Has Run More Than 400 Laps at Wrightsville Beach

Russell Larkins has multiple things he’s trying to accomplish by running. Not only does he want to honor all of the soldiers who have passed away, but he also wants to bring awareness to our veterans that need help here at home.

“I ran across the entire country last year for veterans suicide awareness, and I wanted to do something more local,” he said. “There’s a lot of chronically homeless veterans that have mental health conditions. I have PTSD, I have things like that, and a lot of veterans that I know who were in combat struggle with that. Sometimes you just fall in between the cracks and you end up homeless and there’s no one to help you and that’s why I’m out here doing this.”

Larkins’ latest plan? He has run more than 400 laps at Wrightsville Beach. That translates into approximately 1,000 miles. He doesn’t just run by himself, either. He carries the American flag right alongside him on every lap to help draw attention to a cause that’s so close to his heart. You can check out the Run Marine Run website here.

“It doesn’t have to be for veterans, it doesn’t have to be for homelessness. Whatever your cause is, everyone struggles with something different, you go out there and you run for it.”