Duke Veterans Plan 500-Mile Run To Benefit Other Soldiers

From Aug. 11-17, a group of Army officers who graduated from Duke plans to run a non-stop relay from Duke Chapel to the World Trade Center site in New York City.

The purpose of the run, called Freedom 500, is to raise money for The Mission Continues, an organization started by alumnus and veteran Eric Greitens that awards community service fellowships to post-9/11 veterans.

"Freedom 500's ultimate aim is to recognize and celebrate the sacrifice made by those soldiers wounded, killed or otherwise scarred by combat," says a flier for the run. "We want to raise money and awareness for veterans and remember the vitality of those who gave all."

The relay will start at Duke's Memorial Quadrangle, between the Divinity School and Duke Chapel. "Along the way, we will pass through Arlington National Cemetery to honor our fallen and stop by Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit our wounded -- some of whom we recently fought alongside. One of us will be on the ground, pounding pavement 24/7, from the first step through the final one: a perpetual vigil of respect and endurance," the flier notes.

The team expects to cover 96 miles a day, with each runner on the road for three to four hours daily.  They will be supported by volunteers traveling in two vans. The group plans to reach New York City on the morning of Aug. 17 and will host a post-run celebratory event that evening. There is also an event planned on the Chapel Quad at 2 p.m. Aug. 11 -- on the day they embark on the run.

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.thefreedom500.com. To view a local TV story about this run, click here.