After 83 days and more than 3,000 miles, Sarasota ultramarathon runner and patriot John Pyle has returned to Sarasota. Pyle set out from San Francisco March 1, and completed his journey May 20 with a 100-mile ultramarathon in Key West, with his signature American flag in tow.
“I feel like the luckiest guy in the world,” said Pyle of the trek.
The cross-country run, called the Patriot Run Across America, benefited the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides services to injured service members and helps them transition to civilian life.
Just in time for Memorial Day, Pyle celebrated his return with a meet and greet at Fit2Run in Lakewood Ranch, which outfitted him with running supplies for the trip. Residents came to show their support and congratulate him on his accomplishment.
Pyle shared stories of his run and expressed his gratitude to all who helped make it possible and to U.S. military members. Pyle reported that the run, while grueling, went fairly smoothly.
“I dealt with some pretty bad shin splints,” he said. “My coach and I really had to distinguish between what was pain and what was an injury.”
At the times when the pain was most intense, Pyle pushed through by taking his mind elsewhere, which he said wasn’t difficult, considering the variety of views the trek afforded him. He also found inspiration and support from onlookers drawn to his running partne, the American flag. Pyle was even invited onto the field of the Houston Astrodome before a game, and he was in awe of the crowd’s show of support.
“I met thousands of people, who were so grateful for what I was doing,” said Pyle. “The real heroes are the men and women who are willing to fight to protect this great country.”
Bill Robinson, owner of Fit2Run, said he was happy to support Pyle’s run by providing him with shoes and other running gear.
“It’s incredible what he’s doing for them (U.S. military members),” said Robinson. “It’s really a phenomenal accomplishment.”
By the numbers
83 – number of days Pyle spent running
40 – number of miles Pyle typically ran each day
3,144 – number of miles Pyle ran in total
20 – number of pairs of shoes used throughout the trip
268 – number of runners who have completed this run
27 – number of hours in which Pyle completed his final 100-mile ultra marathon