Recently, a Wilmington, NC marine veteran Russell Larkins decided to raise money for fellow veterans by running across the country from North Carolina to California.
Larkins finally made it to California after a five month journey and enjoyed the weekend in San Francisco.
“I left on April 27th. I decided to do it like on April 21st I think,” Larkins said.
Previous to his trek across America, a single marathon was his longest run. Larkins planned the cross country run in only six days. He began the five-month long journey in Cape Fear with his dog Stormy by his side.
By the end, Larkins ran more than 3,000 miles to California. This past weekend, he completed his goal of traveling across the United States for an important cause.
“It was all for struggling veterans,” Larkins explains. “Originally, it was just for veterans that were struggling financially due to COVID. But, I found out pretty quickly that there are a lot of veterans out here that are struggling. They were struggling before COVID started and now its just been you know exacerbated.”
Larkins Faced Many Challenges On the Way to California
The former marine faced multiple challenges on his journey. During one stretch of the trip, his feet hurt so bad he could not put on shoes. Instead, he continued his run the next day in flip flops for nearly 20 miles.
Yet, there were more obstacles to face. At one point during the run, he went 32 hours without eating because stores in the area were closed due to the coronavirus.
Larkins says at times he thought he may have to give up. However, people he met along the way encouraged him to keep going. They even chanted “Run, Russell, Run” to him to get his spirits up.
“Americans are just beautiful people,” said Larkins. “I had people coming up to me all over the country offering me water, even bringing out donations in person in the middle of a pandemic. I probably talked to more people than I ever have in my life.”
Larkins is taking a few more deserved days off in California before heading back to North Carolina. However, the trip back will be in a car. He says he is definitely ready to be back home.
“You know it was pretty crazy,” said Larkins. “So, now that it’s over I got to get back to real life. But, yea, I’m definitely ready to go back to Wilmington.”
Larkins is the founder of Veterans For Good and posted videos and pictures of his run on his Facebook page throughout the long trip.