A Massachusetts man is scheduled to embark on a cross-country run next month from San Diego to New York in observance of the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
George Chmiel, an extreme athlete from Charlestown, plans to begin the two-month journey Sept. 11 at the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum.
Hundreds of runners are expected to accompany him in the early stage of the run.
Chmiel hopes to raise $1 million for the Guardian for Heroes Foundation, founded by the late Chris Kyle, subject of the film “American Sniper.” The nonprofit helps combat veterans navigate physical, mental, and emotional struggles through physical fitness.
“We need to do a much better job of taking care of our vets,” Chmiel said.
“It’s a disgrace the lack of support they receive when they return home from the battlefield,” he said. “These are our warriors, the protectors and providers of our freedom. Their sacrifices allow us the opportunity to live freely, without fear, and chase our dreams every single day. We need to do a much better job of educating ourselves on the challenges they face on the post- war front.”
Chmiel plans to pass though Kyle’s hometown of Midlothian, Texas, during the run and also go by the Walter Reed National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He’s scheduled to arrive at the site of the former World Trade Center towers in New York on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Organizers of the run said Chmiel has completed 100-mile races on six continents, including 155-mile ultra-marathons in the Sahara Desert, the Australian Outback, the Atacama Desert in Chile, Nepal, the Gobi Desert of China and Antarctica. He has also finished 21 marathons.
— City News Service