The 500-Mile Journey, Day 4: No Pain, No Gain [VIDEO]
With four days under their belt and a total of 205 miles since they left Cape Cod, Bryan Tjersland and Josh Milich's feet and legs are being pushed to their limits.
Day 4: Total Distance = 202 Miles
It was a 14-hour trek for Tjersland and Milich and luckily their final longest stretch from here on out, with tomorrow's run only measuring out to 39.5 miles (as opposed to the 53 they completed today).
The men were woken up earlier than they'd like to by local media outlets waiting for them downstairs in the lobby. They ended up filming in their socks. The massive amount of mileage they've been putting in has ironically been messing up their sleep patterns, leaving them with a restless night before today's long stretch of road.
"It was a pleasant day from start to finish weatherwise," Tjersland said. "There was no wind and it was much nicer than yesterday."
Two hundred and two miles out of 500 was really affecting the runners, causing foot pain and leg cramps that had to be tended to throughout the run.
"My feet are pretty torched," Milich said. "Today was a long day and after the fatigue from the previous days, running the 53 miles was rough. We were out there for 14 hours, making it the longest day on the road so far."
Along the mapped-out route, Tjersland and Milich came across Connecticut's Vietnam Veteran Memorial Park, which was an appropriate place to stop for a visit along the way.
As they passed the park, the team came across a convoy of food trucks that were, to their surprise, all Mexican cuisine.
"We didn't want to take the chance so we kept on going and eventually found a Stop & Shop where we sat in the parking lot and ate turkey sandwiches, chips and these amazing cookies from Mrs. Jone Walsh, who's a Dartmouth resident," Tjersland and Milich told Fun 107.
The cookies came in clutch and offered substantial fuel for the runners. Tjersland and Milich were very thankful for Mrs. Walsh who sent them along their way with a large container of them.
"I ate about a dozen, they were so good and we're forever grateful," Milich said.
Along the way, a Connecticut resident who was tracking the guys from their GPS came running out of his house waving a large Marine Corp flag. He had seen Tjersland and Milich on the local news and since his father was a veteran, he wanted to pay his respects.
Friends and family have been the backbone the entire way, ever since they left the Cape, running alongside them. Their company meant a lot to Tjersland and Milich.
"We had three friends who came all the way down from Massachusetts, Steve Kelly and Kim," Milich said. "They did just over a marathon with us and for a day that was as long and rough as this one, it made a huge difference."
One woman, while passing Milich and Tjersland, rolled down her window and shouted "Mission 22!" then proceeded to pull her car over completely blocking traffic and jumped out for a quick selfie with the mega-marathoners.
The men behind the scenes and the leaders of the Mission 22 New Bedford chapter, Donnie Williams and Jared Lucas, finally joined them along the 53-mile route to get some miles under their feet.
"Jared did 22 miles with us and Donnie did 7," Milich laughed. "Jared owed us a lot of miles since he promised he would do an average of five or six miles a day and since the beginning hasn't lived up to it, so we challenged him that if he made up all those miles, he would have a clean slate."
It's safe to say that he's all caught up.
Today was mostly urban running for Tjersland and Milich with a lot of city and downtown areas. Some parts were nice and some were not so nice. Eventually, the runners finally made it to the coast and finally arrived at their destination in Norwalk around 9:15 p.m., with another day in the books.
Along the way, Milich and Tjersland were kept company by runners and supporters alike. I'm happy to say that I'll be making my way down there for the final arm of the journey to cheer on these American heroes and their selfless act to bring an ultimate wave of awareness to this beautiful country that was built by the very people who struggle on the daily with PTSD.
Day 5 will take the two men from state to state from Norwalk, Connecticut to Bronx, New York for a total of 39.5 miles.
Throughout the week, I will be checking in with the runners and their team to bring you a day-to-day update on their journey. Although we may not be able to be there physically, we can always be there in spirit by supporting Milich and Tjersland as they make their way down to Arlington.
Here's how you can track Milich and Tjersland along their 500-mile adventure:
Click below to help donate towards their goal of $100,000: