They're running in honor of the fallen, to raise money for the wounded. Sunday marked the first annual Operation Honor Our Heroes Run Across Texas.
They have sneakers on their feet and American flags in their hands... Ready to run 443 miles from Amarillo to Austin... That's one mile for every Texas soldier who died during the Iraq war.
With the ringing of the Liberty Bell replica, their week-long journey begins... Honoring their lost loved ones with every step. "He was killed on October 11th, 2008...April 4th, 2004... December 28th, 2006." Runners from across America made the trip to Amarillo for the inaugural Lone Star Trail of Heroes Run Across Texas... Runners like Shannon Cleary from San Diego. "We always hear about the parents and the children who are left behind, and sometimes forget about the siblings and best friends."
It's been three years since her brother's death, and Shannon says she misses him more everyday. "He was my baby brother. He was the best." But running is helping her through the grieving process. "It's putting motion to our emotion of loss." That motion is driven by this motto...one mile, one hero, one country... So Shannon and every other runner will place flags bearing the names of their fallen heroes along the route... Each mile is dedicated to a different soldier.
For some, the physical challenge seems near impossible, but they're counting on the memory of their soldiers to pull them through. Denise Garza lost her son four years ago. "He used to always say, I'm tough because you're tough."
Silvia Macias lost her son in 2004. "If he is looking down I know he's proud and he's thinking wow this is for me?" Ask any of the folks there on Sunday and they'll say yes, All of this for you... Because you deserve it. Judy Donica speaks of her son through tear-filled eyes. "It means he is not forgotten. It means his sacrifice is not forgotten."