- story by Lisa Monti
- photos courtesy Coast2CoastRuns Facebook page
Ernie Andrus was 90 years old when he began his cross-country run starting from the Pacific Coast in 2013. He arrived at the Atlantic shore in Georgia the day after his 93rd birthday having spent 999 hours, 32 minutes and 1 second on his journey.
Last March, this remarkable man reversed course and began running from the Atlantic Coast westward. At 96, he admits to being at bit slower, running 13 miles a week over three days. At that rate, he calculates he’ll be 100 years old when he reaches the Pacific again.
The last time Mr. Ernie’s course ran through Bay St. Louis, more than 70 people showed up to cheer him on. “When I ran from the same spot on the bridge four years ago it was the biggest turnout I had,” he said by phone as he rested up from Monday’s run.
He’s hoping for that many or even more people to join him on Saturday morning (January 25 2020) to go from the west end of the Bay Bridge to the Kiln/Waveland Cut Off.
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“I do the running and everybody else walks because I’m slow,” he says laughing. “The more runners, the more fun.”
Mr. Ernie, a Navy veteran who served in World War II, is raising money on his travels for a memorial featuring the LST 325, the only transport ship of its class that is restored and operational. He was among the crew that brought the 325 back to the U.S. from Greece. “My dream is to take the ship back to Normandy for a D-Day Memorial,” he said.
Anyone who wants to accompany Mr. Ernie on Saturday should gather around 6:30 a.m. at the west end of the bridge ahead of the 7 a.m. start. And if you want to follow his remarkable journey online, go to coast2coastruns.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.