By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. SmithJune 1, 2010
ARLINGTON, Va., (Army News Service, June 1, 2010) -- After running along 550 miles of roads, bike paths and rail trails from Maine to the nation's capital, two Army National Guard officers took their final steps of a 21-day journey at Arlington National Cemetery May 28 to promote resiliency.
Army Col. Jack Mosher and Maj. Jay Brock started the ultra-run in Kittery, Maine, May 8. They headed south and stopped along the way at veteran's medical centers and historic sites to inspire resiliency and wellness in the nation's servicemembers, veterans and their families.
Bad weather and sore muscles did not stop them.
"The 'Resiliency Run' has been a long journey," said Mosher.
The officers took turns and ran two, 13.1-mile segments each day to cover the equivalent of 21 marathons. Many took notice of their effort, put on their running shoes and joined in to support their cause.
They were joined by civilians and other military members as they ran through Portsmouth, N.H., Boston, New Haven, Conn., East Orange, N.J., Trenton, N.J., New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, D.C. and elsewhere.
More than 800 Facebook fans followed their progress online. Some cheered them on while others echoed their concern for servicemembers to maintain healthy lifestyles.
They spent their last night in the National Capital Region before running the last marathon-length around Washington, starting from the World War II Memorial, then ending across the Potomac River at the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery.
The runners said they want servicemembers and veterans to take charge of their own health.
"There's a universal understanding among veterans ... to tell our young guys to get out and get help if they need it," said Mosher.
He admits openly that he suffered mentally and physically after his most recent combat deployment.
Mosher, medium height and now weighing about 158 pounds, returned from Afghanistan a mere 138 pounds. He endured a divorce and faced a seemingly endless mountain of problems and issues in his professional and personal life.
"I was in a rut," he said.
His post-deployment processing occurred at a time when programs like Yellow Ribbon did not exist, and Soldiers had four months at home alone before returning back to drill status.
"Jay just told me, 'if you're gonna survive this, you have to put weight on and get healthy.'"
He started running to pull himself up.
"Running brought us out into the light, made us strong again," said Mosher. "We just wanted to share that with others."
He added that "it doesn't have to be running, it could be fly fishing or whatever you're passionate about."
The Army National Guard's Decade of Health program, a 10-year strategic readiness campaign supporting self-responsibility for health and wellness, was a main sponsor for the Resiliency Run.
"Programs have not always been available, but they are now, and there's simply no excuse for sitting home and suffering unnecessarily," said Mosher. "They need to get out, and take advantage of them to be strong."