Feature Story

...so he ran

Running Joe
Running Joe
Running Joe

Joseph Lee Ortiz grew up in a small town in South Texas called Aransas Pass. He ran cross country and track in high school and probably never imagined that he would ever run more than 5 miles at a time until he joined the Navy in 2002.

Joe is a wounded war veteran and also had a motorcycle accident in 2008 that left him with chronic hip and back pain. He didn't want to spend his life on pain killers and muscle relaxers so, one day, he decided to go for a run. He learned that while he ran, he felt no pain. He wasn't worried about anything.

He felt invincible

...so he ran.

Since 2010, he has run 3 Ultra-Marathons, 11 Marathons, 8 half-Marathons and several other runs of varying distances.

On May 1st, 2012 Joe set out from San Diego, California heading to his home town. His goal wasn't just Aransas Pass, TX. It was to raise money and awareness for several great charity organizations: The American Diabetes Association, Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Breast Cancer), Karno's Kids (Fighting Childhood Obesity), and the Wounded Warrior Project.

He would push his physical and mental limits right to the bleeding edge. His journey would take him almost 1500 miles. Joe would have to run an average 47 miles a day for 31 days in order to make his scheduled arrival date of May 31st, 2012.

Despite the accomplishments of physical endurance, Joe is a humble man. He didn't over-promote his run. He didn't draw a lot of attention to himself. His modest goal was to raise $10,000 for each of his charities.

As he approached his "finish line", he was met by one of our local police officers on the outside of town. The officer asked him what time he thought he would be reaching the finish line because everyone wanted to know how much longer the wait would be. Joe was surprised at the word "everyone". He said that he was expecting to be greeted by 20 people; mostly friends and family. Instead, he was joined by several local motorcycle clubs, the Patriot Guard riders, police cars and fire trucks to escort him into and through the city. Neighborhood kids ran with him. Fellow well-wishers ran with him. What awaited him when he reached the city was hundreds of people along his path, waving a sea of American flags with signs of encouragement and pride for their hometown boy.

It was a very emotional time for the city and for Joe who was completely overwhelmed by his community's outpouring of love and pride.

Thanks for the inspiration, Joseph!

You can read more about 'Running Joe' or donate to his causes at http://runningjoe.org

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1 response

  • Donna Tine

    Donna Tine said (4 Jun 2012):

    wonderful story - inspiring gentleman -thanks for sharing!

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