Area residents might have seen a man running down U.S. Route 51 and pushing a stroller full of flags Tuesday.
Mike Ehredt began his second Project America Run Aug. 23 on the border of Canada, and he plans to end by the Gulf of Mexico outside Galveston, Texas, according to projectamericarun.com. Ehredt stopped in Carbondale along the route, and some student veterans greeted and ran with him.
The run is to honor those who served and died in the war in Afghanistan, according to the project’s website. Ehredt is running the route alone and will travel through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
Ehredt’s first run was in 2010, when he ran more than 4,300 miles to honor the United States’ fallen troops, according to the website. Ehredt is a veteran who served in Germany, where he won several U.S. Army Cross-Country Championships.
Rod Santulan, coordinator of SIU Veterans Services, said many university veterans were excited and honored to have Ehredt come through Carbondale.
“If he’s running over 6,500 miles, then the least we can do is show up to support him,” said Mark Trumbull, a senior from Rockford studying history.
Six members of SIU’s ROTC and veterans program ran alongside Ehredt’s last mile for the day. Ryan McKennedy, a senior from Rochester studying psychology, said Ehredt’s journey is a great event to support.
This was Ehredt’s 41st of the 81-day journey, and he stops at each mile to plant a flag for a soldier who died in the Afghanistan war. Each flag has the name of a soldier, his or her casualty number, hometown, station and age at death, Santulan said.
Ehredt will begin day 42 at 7:30 a.m. at the Rt. 51 and Pleasant Hill Road intersection.
He said a friend told him his journey looks like a cross from the sky because he first ran east-to-west and is now travelling north-to-south.
“I feel if you find something you love to do, then you should do it,” Ehredt said.