MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It’s the journey of a lifetime for US Navy veteran Dustin Johnson who’s attempting to run across the world.
On Tuesday, Johnson reached the Atlantic Ocean on day 35 of his adventure, making a stop in Myrtle Beach.
Over the next year and six months, Johnson will run 16,300 miles, ocean to ocean and across four continents, all while raising suicide awareness and prevention.
“What would life be if I weren’t here? I’ve thought about that a lot, what would life be like if I didn’t survive,” said Johnson.
Before mapping out his journey around the world, 24-year-old Johnson of Lambert, Missouri spent four years serving in the US Navy as a plane captain, following a family tradition.
“You’ll never forget those friends. I’ll never forget the adrenaline rush working on a flight deck everyday, it was a great time I really loved it,” said Johnson.
After serving his country, Johnson struggled with depression and even attempted overdosing on pills, but somehow survived to the doctor’s surprise.
“It was a hard time and the only way they described it was my body had a will to live,” said Johnson.
With a second chance at life Johnson would turn to an old passion, running.
“When the doctor pretty much cleared me I knew what my purpose was able to be,” he said.
Johnson has since run over 900 miles, sharing his story and raising awareness of the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day.
“People say I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself, but if I quit a run, it’s just the run. If somebody sees me quit and they decided to quit that’s their life,” said Johnson.
On top of the 16,300 miles around the world, Johnson decided to add four extra miles to his journey by taking part in Global Running Day with local runners here in Myrtle Beach.
“It’s amazing what one person can do when motivated for a great cause,” said Johnson.
Before continuing his journey in Peru, mechanics at Pee Dee Bicycle Company are helping tune up Johnson’s travel cart.
“We’re making sure the bearings and everything are tight, because he has to push and run with this with all his supplies and it needs to be in great running shape,” said Michael Vaughn.
Johnson hopes to finish his run on Christmas Day 2020 and though he’s running solo, Johnson is far from alone on this journey.
“It feels like my community of 34 people has just grown to an astronomical number of people willing to let me lean on them, just like in the military, so through running I found the camaraderie that I miss so much,” said Johnson.
If you’d like to help Johnson on his run, he’s asking those to donate to Stop Solider Suicide.