Wilmington man to run across the country to raise money, awareness during COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Apr. 27, 2020 at 12:12 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A Wilmington man plans to hit the pavement in the fight against the coronavirus.

“It’s called a million miles against COVID," said Larkins. "At first, the whole running thing was just going to be me, just running, people donating to that and that was the cause. But then it kind of morphed into this thing where I want people to, one: get outside.”

Russell Larkins is a marine veteran and medical assistant and is also really into running. He’s putting the two together to fight against COVID-19, raise awareness about health, and to relieve some stress and anxiety.

“I wanted to raise money for a few different veteran organizations that are helping with the COVID-19 crisis,” said Larkins. “Giving funds to families that aren’t getting an unemployment, for whatever reason, and can’t pay their bills. That’s a struggle on itself and I feel deeply for those people.”

Larkins plans to run from Wilmington to California to support Team Rubicon, The Gary Sinise Foundation, and The Semper Fi Fund. He hopes to raise thousands of dollars to donate for those helping during the coronavirus pandemic. Not only is he running for a cause, but he’s running to stay healthy; physically and mentally.

“One hack I’ve found in my own life which reduces stress and gives me some semblance of control is running,” said Larkins. “I know the gyms are closed and for the most part were not supposed to be outside, however, there is one way to take back control while also remaining safe and complying with local requests.”

He wants the community to come together and run a million miles. Running from North Carolina all the way to the west coast is 3,000 miles, so he needs others to join in. He hopes to run to California within two months running 50 miles a day.

“I’m a very, very normal person, I just happened to decide to do something crazy," said Larkins.

Not only is Larkins doing this to help fight against the pandemic we’re facing, but he wants to inspire people to make themselves better.

“I really just want people to look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘what is it that I wanted to do for so-and-so amount of years?’ and if they lost their job or they lost some hours, or whatever, if they have some extra time right now then do that. Get out and do whatever that thing is that you’ve been wanting to do."

The only way to meet the goal of a million miles is for the community to join in. He’s not asking anyone to run 50 miles a day or try to make it across the country, he just wants people to get active.

“You can track walking, you can track running, you can track hiking, you can track bicycling and all those miles will count to the million miles against COVID and we can come together and do that so it’s more of a community thing," said Larkins.

Larkins leaves Monday evening for his journey.

To learn more about A Million Miles Against COVID or donate, click here. If you’d like to contribute to the miles and keep track of Larkins’ miles, click here.

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