From 1921 to 2008, there have been 4,102 ascents to the summit of Mt. Everest by about 2,700 individuals. Since 1928, only 212 people have crossed the country on foot! (running or walking) Only one person has ever run the transcontinental southern route, during the hot, humid conditions of summer.

Helene Neville, her journey entitled “One on the Run,” set foot on a 2,520-mile run on May 1st, 2010 and completed her run on August 1, 2010—93 days! Helene is now the first person to run the southern route in the summer and the first woman ever to complete this course.

Helene Neville—incredible athlete and inspiration

Helene plans to run from Canada to Mexico in March 2011, north to south, all within the same calendar year.

If you go to her web site , you will find this amazing excerpt from her bio there: Helene has been a nurse and a fitness coach for the past 28 years. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in 1993, conquering the disease in 2001 after overcoming three brain surgeries, which she suffered between 1991 and 1997.

In July 1998, Helene’s doctors told her she would never recover. It was Helene’s persistent attitude that drove her to set goals in her life. She decided then to accomplish one more goal in her life, and she began training to run a 26.2-mile marathon.

Helene entered and completed her first marathon and has completed 25 more since. Among them was the London Marathon, where her finish qualified her to compete in the world famous Boston Marathon. Qualifying for Boston was a proud step for Helene in overcoming her extreme health obstacles.

Helene finishes her 2010 Run Across America—8/1/10

Helene’s most notable marathon challenge was the Fox Cities Marathon held in Fox Cities, Wisconsin. Helene’s close friend, Don Owens, who lost his sight twenty years earlier, asked Helene if she would help him train to run a marathon. After sixteen weeks of training, Helene and Don completed the marathon together, tethered to each other with a bungee cord.

Helene wrote me that “I was always an athlete. In high school and college I ran sprints and middle distances. In 1998 I took up marathons after the doctors gave up on me. I also competed in two bodybuilding competitions and climbed Mt. Whitney.

“I decided to run across the country to mark my 50th birthday, to promote the book Nurses In Shape that I authored and to get nurses healthy, so they can be more credible as they instruct patients to incorporate fitness and proper nutrition in their lives.

It was a run in part to deliver the message on foot to make a bigger impact. I stopped and spoke with hundreds of nurses at 30 hospitals along the way. My mission is: To change the health of our nation, we must first change those who care for the ill. Health care practitioners should be leading by example. I intend to change the face of nursing, so my profession can be that much more credible while we educate our patients on diet and exercise. Nurses are millions in numbers, so we can have a huge voice in changing the health and wellness of our society. If we don’t, in the end, we are literally bearing the extra load!

I will continue to run in every state to get this message to nurses, so they can become better ambassadors and teachers of health. Additionally, if we can get the school nurses to set examples, we might begin to see a decline in the epic climb of childhood obesity.

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