Ultra marathoner runs more than 500 miles for charity

Nov 25, 2019

Dartmouth resident Brian Tjersland is no ordinary runner.

The 52-year-old Ultra-runner has completed extreme long-distance marathon events before, such as the Badwater 135-mile race in California’s Death Valley, which calls itself ‘the world’s toughest foot race.’

But on November 22, he and runner Joshua Milich, 29, of Somerset outdid themselves after completing a 502-mile trek from Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

They were on a mission to raise awareness and funds to prevent veteran suicide.

According to a celebratory post on the fundraiser’s Facebook page, the pair have raised $42,025 for the cause so far.

During the 12-day run, they averaged 40-50 miles per day. They also consumed 31 cases of water, slept in 13 hotels, and ate a vast number of meals including, for Milich, a lot of cookies.

In a video update on their third to last day he noted that he ate 21 chocolate oreos over the course of the day.

The pair also stocked up on calories at mealtimes. For dinner, Tjersland ate “At least two full entrees and an appetizer every single night,” according to Milich.

Tjersland, a real estate appraiser, and Milich, an enlisted member of the Coast Guard, met through the Junk Miles trail runners group. 

They teamed up with charity Mission 22, whose goal is to treat veterans for Post-Traumatic Stress, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, and other issues they face.

Video updates from hotel rooms, hot tubs, and even mid-jog were posted to the Facebook page during the run, and supporters and fellow runners joined them along the way.

In fact, Tjersland said in one video that his favorite part of the experience so far was “meeting everyone along the way.”

“We’ve had many people share their stories with us,” he said. “I think that’s what’s impacted me the most.

“We’re doing good,” said Tjersland in the last video posted to the page on November 22. “Little rain today, it’s not the best day. But we’re just about 13 mi in, we’ve got 13 to go, and then the day is done. Then everything’s done. We’re not going to know what to do anymore.”

“Not run,” suggested Milich with a grin.

“Not run,” Tjersland agreed. “One of them’s not run. Well, ‘til Monday anyway. I’ll have to run on Monday because it’s Monday.”

Visit facebook.com/500milestoendvetsuicide/ for more information.