Veteran runs 100 miles in 100 hours for donations

By Kelly McCarthy

November 19, 2013 Updated Nov 20, 2013 at 12:42 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A local veteran is taking steps, a lot of them, to raise awareness for other veterans returning home from war. The Army veteran from Vestal is running 100 miles in less than 100 hours.

"Well, I think it's something I can do and something I can use for good," said Chris Cowden of Vestal, "To get the message out there of what Team Red White and Blue does."

The words red, white and blue can bring out a sense of patriotism to any American, but to returning veterans, it could be the name of one organization that keeps them moving forward.

"A lot of veterans are facing these challenges and we're kind of losing them," Cowden said, "A lot of them are turning to alcohol, drugs and suicide is a big issue."

Team Red, White and Blue help veterans transition back to civilian life by focusing on athletic activities. As an Army veteran himself, Chris Cowden can relate.

"I kind of went into a little bit of a dark hole myself," Cowden said, "I lost motivation. You go from having such a structured lifestyle to where everything has such a purpose,"

Running the miles might be a personal challenge for Cowden, but for most of the challenge, he hasn't been running alone.

"He's probably looking for any excuse to not run," said Chuck Hein of Vestal, "And we're helping him pull through these last few miles here."

100 miles in 100 hours breaks down to running just under a marathon a day for four days. That comes not only with physical challenges to your body, but mental challenges as well.

"Just always having to be running, you just don't want to do it anymore," Cowden said, "It's been tough sometimes to get out there and do another eight miles, do another 10 miles, running two, three, four times a day."

It's the "RWB" letters on his running shirt that keep him going.

"I set it up to raise some money for Team Red White and Blue," Cowden said, "And through generous donations of just basically friends and family I've raised more than $1,000 dollars so it's been great."

Cowden finished his last three miles of the 100 mile challenge Tuesday night at the Confluence Running store in Binghamton with supporters. He's had help from other local runners for about 80 of the miles. By the end of the 100 hours, he will have gone on 13 separate runs -- averaging a pace around eight minutes per mile.

To learn more about Team Red White and Blue, click here.

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