To kickstart Military Appreciation Month, 68-year-old Mike Rouse will begin a nationwide running challenge of 31 miles for 31 consecutive days in May beginning Saturday May 1st to honor the lives and legacies of 31 fallen American heroes. 

Mike’s initial 31-mile run will start and finish Saturday at The Frisco Bar where a fundraiser event and meet-and-greet with Mike is set from 2-4pm. His goal is to raise funds for Boot Campaign through mile pledges, donations and merchandise sales during the month of May. This final donation amount will support veterans and their families involved in Boot Campaign’s comprehensive health and wellness program designed to target invisible wounds of war including post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, self-medication and insomnia.

One of Mike’s closest friends, Navy SEAL Petty Officer Jon T. Tumilson, was one of 31 service members aboard a military helicopter that was shot down in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. During each run, Mike will wear a shirt bearing the name and photo of one of the 31 men who lost their lives in the tragic event – most of whom he had never met. 

“I have tried to devote my life to helping others, and I have done it through my running,” said Rouse. “Over the years I have met many of the family members and loved ones that ‘Extortion 17’ left behind. I will never forget their names and will honor each of them in May during Military Appreciation Month.”

The hope with the month-long challenge is to encourage involvement nationwide to honor all past and present military members and their families by signing up to run, walk, bike or swim for 31 miles a day or 3.1 miles a day. Those interested in registering individually, as a team or in purchasing limited edition merchandise to benefit the virtual challenge can visit bootcampaign.org/events/31for31for31

“Boot Campaign began when average Americans wanted to do something to show thanks to our troops and veterans,” said Boot Campaign CEO Shelly Kirkland. “Mike is a brilliant example of continuing that effort and embodying what it means to #LiveLacedUp, to get up and give back to others. We hope that all Americans will be inspired by Mike’s enthusiasm to log 961 miles on the pavement this May, choose to support his efforts, and join the movement to honor those who have served and sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.”

See below for an overview of Mike’s Run Dates & Locations in May: 

May 1 – Frisco, Texas – The kick-off run will begin and end at The Frisco Bar, located at 6750 Gaylord Pkwy. A meet-and-greet and fundraising event will be held at The Frisco Bar from 2-4pm following the run. 

May 2 – Frisco, Texas – The start and finish will take place at the Frisco Veterans Memorial Park at 8000 McKinney Road. There will be an honorary ceremony at 8:00am before the start of the run.

May 3 – Abilene, Texas – Various Locations 

May 4 – 5 – Austin, Texas – Various Locations

May 6 – 13 – Abilene, Texas – Various Locations

May 14 – 16 – Houston, Texas – These runs will take place in various locations across Houston, Texas. On Saturday, May 15, Mike will be joined by former Navy SEALs Morgan and Marcus Luttrell, among others, and will participate in live interviews along the route.

May 17 – Abilene, Texas – Various Locations 

May 18 – 20 – Boston, Massachusetts – Various Locations

May 21 – 28 – Abilene, Texas – Various Locations 

May 29 – 30 – San Diego, California – These runs will take place at various locations, including loops around beautiful Mission Bay. 

May 31 – Coronado, California – Mike’s final 31-mile run on Memorial Day will take place in Coronado, CA.  He will start and end his run from the Naval Amphibious Base. Following the run will be a celebration of Mission Accomplished at McP’s Irish Pub in Coronado.