Georgia veteran running 50 marathons in 50 states to honor fallen service members and their families
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Georgia resident Scott Sunday began a quest to complete a marathon in each state--50 marathons in 50 states total--before his 50th birthday. Sunday has already completed marathons in 49 states. On December 14, 2014, Sunday will run the Honolulu Marathon, finishing the goal he started more than two years ago to honor fallen service members. Through this pursuit, Sunday has raised awareness to the needs of the families of the fallen and raise more than $3K for Hope For The Warriors, a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, restoring the family unit, and restoring hope for our service members and our military families.
The retired Chief Warrant Officer served 23 years in the Army and began his mission to run 50 marathons on March 18, 2012 as a tribute to his fallen friend, Chief Warrant Officer Alexander “Scott” Coulter. Along the way, many other fallen heroes and family members inspired Sunday to expand his run efforts to recognize more who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Sunday also started his runs with focus on two other heroes, Staff Sgt. Javier Ortiz River, USMC and Spc. Brenden Salazar Nelson, USA. As someone with no extensive run experience prior to this plan, Sunday claims it is “the heroes and their memories who have fueled the miles.”
“It's humbling to realize what started as single marathon to honor my friend has become a journey to honor not only him but numerous other heroes as well,” said Sunday.
His journey was constantly encouraged when military families and families of the fallen recognized his efforts to honor the impact of loss. At one point, Sunday received a message on Facebook from a Gold Star Widow whose husband he was running to honor. This widow described her relief after realizing Sunday was helping her keep her husband's memory alive. Sunday's dedication allowed them both the perspective that she did not have to carry that load all by herself.
Then Sunday was introduced to Hope For The Warriors, and realized his goals to inspire awareness and support aligned well with the nonprofit's.
“The journey was made even more meaningful when I teamed up with the nonprofit organization Hope For The Warriors to help raise funds and awareness for all of our nation's wounded and fallen and the Gold Star Families left behind,” said Sunday. “Running to honor the fallen has given true meaning to the running.”
In addition to running marathons in each state, Sunday has also run a number of half marathons. In 2013, he completed the Run For The Warriors Half Marathon in Jacksonville, NC while wearing a gas mask and weight vest.
“Rather than simply asking for donations I decided it would be more meaningful if I were to sacrifice on behalf of the warriors. I am hoping that wearing the vest, and adding weight as a fundraiser, will raise funds and awareness to help the warriors carry a lighter load," Sunday said.
The mission of Hope For The Warriors is to enhance the quality of life for post-9/11 service members, their families, and families of the fallen who have sustained physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty. Hope For The Warriors is dedicated to restoring a sense of self, restoring the family unit, and restoring hope for our service members and our military families.
For more information on Hope For The Warriors, click here.