Ernie Andrus, WWII veteran, finishes 3000 Mile run
Ernie Andrus is a US Navy WWII veteran. At 93, he became the oldest person to ever run across the United States when he ran from San Diego to St. Simons Island, Georgia. It was an amazing coast to coast journey that few young people want to try, let alone a 90-something year old veteran.
— Team RWB (@TeamRWB) August 21, 2016
Ernie started his trek on October 7, 2013. That’s right, it took him just under 3 years to do it.
“Oh, it’s great. I’m glad to have finished and met the goal. But I wish it wasn’t over.” Ernie Andrus
He sold everything he owned after his wife died just prior to embarking on his trip. His pace? He ran alternately marathon and half-marathon lengths per week.
In February he was honored at a reception on the Battleship USS Alabama.
Friday, August 19, was Ernie’s 93rd birthday, and he was celebrated by a few dozen people at the Old times Country Buffet in Brunswick. There he was presented with a custom-made T-shirt from the city of Mobile. It sported a photo of the LST-325 and the words “Mission Accomplished.”
Bright and early on Saturday morning, he ran to the finish line as people shouted “Ernie! Ernie!”
His accomplishment was nothing short of extraordinary.
Along his coast-to-coast journey, Andrus has made hundreds of new friends and has served as an inspiration to those who have met him. Rather than relieved to have the run behind him, he seemed to find the finale bittersweet. On Aug. 4, he posted on his Facebook page: “Having so much fun, hate to see it end.”
But now that it’s done, he’s off on a new adventure. He plans to drive his motor home to Alaska to visit his stepdaughter and drive the ALCAN (Alaska) Highway.
“He’s a fine example of what Tom Brokaw was talking about when he called them ‘the greatest generation.'” Mobile City Councilman John Williams
The last remaining LST
Ernie ran the 3,000 mile journey for a purpose: to raise money to restore the LST 325 (LST-Landing Ship Tank) and send it to Normandy, France for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing. The LST-325 is the last remaining ship of its kind.
Ernie served aboard the LST-124 as a medic during the war, and knows how important the vessels were to the war effort.
The LST-325 is currently in Evansville, Indiana.