Texas Man Running 31 Miles Every Day in May to Honor Military

Mike Rouse is running in honor of the 31 military men who died when their helicopter, 'Extortion 17,' was shot down in Afghanistan in 2011

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On Saturday morning in Frisco, 68-year old Mike Rouse will be at the starting line of a long run.

"I'm gonna run 31 miles a day for 31 days to honor 31 men," Rouse explained. "It was a mission called 'Extortion 17.' There were 31 U.S. military men on the helicopter and all 31 were killed instantly."

They died after being shot down in Afghanistan in 2011. It was the single largest loss of U.S lives in Operation Enduring Freedom. Rouse's former running buddy and Navy SEAL, Jon Tumilson, was among the casualties.

Last year, Rouse teamed up with the Boot Campaign and started the '31 For 31' run to honor his friend and all military veterans. Each day of the run, Rouse wears a shirt with the name of one of the 31 men who died in that mission.

"So each morning I get up and I put that shirt on and I just pray that I will have the ability to honor that man," Rouse said fighting back tears.

Rouse started running late in life.

"I started running in prison in 1986," Rouse said. He served 14-months of a 5-year sentence for a drug offense. "I was told 2 1/2 laps around the yard was a mile, so I thought, well, I'll go run 2 miles, and I couldn't do it."

By the time Rouse left prison, he was up to a 10k run every day. That led to a love of running that included ultra-marathons. Every year on his birthday he runs his age. In October, Rouse plans to run 69 miles straight. This month, the runs are not for him.

"This is not about me, it's about the warriors," Rouse said.

He'll finish the month-long campaign in Coronado, California at the Navy SEAL base. If you'd like to cheer Rouse on or run virtually with him wherever you are, you can get more information here.

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