Local veteran hoping to raise awareness for veteran suicide comp - KPTV - FOX 12

Local veteran hoping to raise awareness for veteran suicide completes running challenge

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

A local veteran finished an unimaginable feat - running 20 miles a day for 100 days straight.

Mike McCastle chose the distance, 20 miles, to draw attention to the fact that the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates roughly 20 veterans commit suicide each day.

On Wednesday at 6 p.m., McCastle finished running 2,000 miles in 100 days.

In the home stretch, McCastle is out of breath and out of strength, but he still has plenty of purpose to last him another 100 days.

"It's not about what I'm doing, it's why I'm doing it. And that's spreading awareness about my fellow veterans who are suffering and taking their life," said McCastle.

McCastle served in the Navy around the world and he knows all about the struggles vets face when they get home. He has lost three friends to suicide, but he wants others to know there is hope and help.

"Help isn't only at the end of a line at the VA. Help isn't only at the bottom of a bottle. Help is all around, and I'm trying to bring attention to that voice," McCastle said.

McCastle's journey has taken him across the Northwest, and he has documented nearly every mile on social media.

In true Forrest Gump fashion, McCastle attracted a lot of attention and runners willing to jump in for support.

"So I've met some really amazing people. I've seen some great compassion," said McCastle.

And with a few amazing friends by his side, McCastle hit that 20-mile mark for the very last time.

Even though a few of the last 100 days have been hard, McCastle surprised himself.

"I thought there would be days I didn't want to do it, but I never had that. I just got up and I wanted to go," said McCastle.

And memories of his three friends always gave him an extra push.

"They'd probably call me crazy, but I also believe they would be happy," said McCastle. "They would be happy because I'm living with purpose. And I'm living for something greater than myself."

McCastle was not only raising awareness but also money to fund a therapy retreat for veterans, and the very first retreat is happening this weekend in Sisters.

RELATED: Local veteran running 20 miles a day

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