Second World War veteran aged 93 finishes three-year run across US

Ernie Andrus tells journalists ‘I wish it wasn’t over’ following coast-to-coast adventure

Kayleigh Lewis
Sunday 21 August 2016 14:40
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WWII veteran finishes epic three year run across US

A 93-year-old Second World War veteran has arrived at St Simon’s Island, Georgia, two years and 10 months after he set out from San Diego.

Ernie Andrus finally dipped his toes in the Atlantic Ocean just one day after his birthday, marking the end of his marathon cross-country journey of over 2,600 miles.

Mr Andrus was raising money to return the last remaining naval landing ship (LST) to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. He served as a medic on a similar ship during the war.

Ernie Andrus travelled over 2,600 miles from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean (Coast2Coast/ Facebook)

On arrival at St Simons Island, where he was met by crowds cheering his name, he told The Brunswick News: “All these people. This is great, this is the biggest crowd I have had, ever.

“I'm glad to have finished and met the goal. But I wish it wasn't over.”

The veteran’s last progress update, on July 10, said he had run 2,533.81 miles in 956 hours, 49 minutes. He had managed an average of 18.49 miles per week over three running days, and had 100 miles of his trip remaining.

People travelled from as far and wide as Arizona and New York to see the pensioner complete his journey. A marching band played as his family and friends rushed to greet him.

The inspirational retiree has already planned his next adventure – to drive the 2,237 km Alaska Highway in his mobile home to where his stepdaughter lives.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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