SEATTLE — A Bainbridge Island ultramarathon runner has nearly finished his cross-country, 3,000-mile run to raise awareness about youth mental health and addiction.
Greg Nance began his run in Long Island, N.Y., on April 25 and he will complete his journey on July 17 in Ocean Shores.
"We are on a mission for youth mental health," Nance said. "It's always tough to be a teenager, but never more so than now."
Nance is running for his non-profit Run Far Foundation, which funds youth-led volunteer projects in all 50 states to help young people find purpose, build community, have fun and stay healthy.
Nancy overcame his own struggles with substance abuse and mental health when he was a teen. Following his grandfather's debilitating stroke, Nance said he turned to alcohol and painkillers at the age of 16 to cope.
Volunteering and running helped him kick his addictions and he has been sober since 2011. Over the course of his career, Nance has set 35 fastest known time records and completed seven marathons on seven continents in just seven days.
"For me, running has been the way that I've followed my smile, it's been the thing that's kept me happy, it's helped me build my own mental health over the years, and when you do things that you love, you can do them at the highest level," Nance said. "You can live the kind of life that you imagine, beyond your dreams."
Nance said he's been training for his cross-country run for more than a decade. He's now just 149 miles away from the finish line at the Pacific Ocean. But first, he made time to stop and celebrate with friends and family.
"We're declaring victory here in Seattle tonight because this has been just so amazing," Nance said.
Nance was joined on some parts of his journey by runners, bikers and other supporters. People from across the country also followed along on social media and via a live GPS tracker.
Nance's Run Across America will be featured in an upcoming documentary. He also hopes more people are inspired to check out his non-profit that supports youth-led initiatives.
"If you’re so moved you can chip in!” Nance said.
Learn more about the Run Far Foundation here.
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