Navy LT paul Johnson runs across the USA in 52 days
Go to triangular compass
Left arrow

Navy Lt. Paul Johnson: A 3,000-Mile Run Across America for Veteran Wellness

Community Support
Community Support
April 23, 2024
Share on Twitter
Share on Facebook
Share on Linkedin
Copy Link

Stay Up to Date on American Grit

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

In a remarkable demonstration of endurance and commitment, Navy Lt. Paul Johnson has completed a record-setting run across the United States, from Los Angeles to New York City, covering over 3,000 miles in just 50 days. This feat was not just a test of American warfighting spirit but also a significant charitable effort to support veterans' mental health and wellness.

Lt. Paul Johnson's naval career began in 2018 with a challenging assignment on a forward-deployed ship in Rota, Spain. The strenuous conditions abroad took a toll on his mental health, with Johnson and his colleagues often turning to alcohol as a coping mechanism like most veterans. After transferring to San Diego in 2021, the change in environment allowed him to confront his ongoing struggles with sleep, anxiety, and depression. Running became a transformative outlet for him, providing not just physical but significant emotional relief.

Johnson's passion for running escalated quickly; from daily jogs to participating in the Marine Corps Marathon alongside a Marine Veteran and mentor. Their training led them to qualify for the Boston Marathon. However, it was the ultra-marathons that truly shaped his new career path. Running provided a sense of release and purpose, helping him manage his mental health issues more effectively.

On a chilly morning in Los Angeles, Johnson began his monumental journey, motivated by the power of running to change lives. Averaging 60 miles a day, his route took him through 13 States and communities, each step drawing attention to his cause. Supported by a small team including his mother, a Marine veteran, and an Air Force reservist/physical therapist, Johnson tackled the physical and mental demands of his daily DOUBLE marathons.

Johnson is also accompanied by his mother, Janice Johnson, and a full media team. The media crew is in charge of posting content to social media and capturing shots to help promote the journey. Many of Johnson’s company are former veterans themselves, including crew member Mindo Estrella.

Estrella is on active duty alongside Johnson in the Marine Corps, but their relationship goes back far further. When Johnson was making his way through the Penn State Navy ROTC program, Estrella served as his drill instructor.

Fueling such an endeavor required an astonishing intake of up to 15,000 calories a day, consisting of energy-dense foods like ice cream and pizza. Despite the grueling schedule, Johnson's spirit remained high, fueled by the encouragement of veterans and supporters who joined him on various legs of his journey.

Johnson's run culminated in a dramatic finish in Times Square, where he was greeted by crowds of supporters and local media. While he did not set a new world record, his efforts raised over $500,00 for Team RWB.  More importantly, his journey brought to light the critical issues of veteran isolation and mental health struggles.

Reflecting on his journey on the Today show, Johnson emphasized the therapeutic power of running and physical activity. He hopes his story will inspire other veterans and individuals facing mental health challenges to find healing and community through physical activity.

After his monumental run, Johnson is not slowing down. He plans to return to active duty, carrying with him the lessons and insights from his cross-country adventure. 

Lt. Paul Johnson's journey across America is not just a story of physical endurance but a powerful narrative about overcoming personal struggles and using one's passion to make a difference. 

Check out LT on Instagram, he deserves a few follows and a couple of beers. LT, if you’re ever in Texas, we got the next round. 

Hey LT, Change your socks!

send a letter to congress
Adds section
Next Up
The Grunt Style Foundation

The Grunt Style Foundation

October 1, 2022
Ep 1 Grunt Style Foundation Mental Health Round Table

Ep 1 Grunt Style Foundation Mental Health Round Table

October 6, 2023
Join the Grunt Style Foundation for EP1 of their 3 part Mental Health Series.