Bitten, sore and motivated: A Va. Marine runs across U.S.

A Marine from Virginia is on a journey to draw attention to veterans services and do what he can to help his friends by running across the country.

WASHINGTON – A Marine veteran from Virginia is on a journey to draw attention to veterans’ services and help his friends by running across the country.

Sgt. Brendan O’Toole started in Oceanside, Calif., and plans to end his journey in Portland, Maine on Veterans Day. On Thursday morning, he reached the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

The idea for The Run for Veterans was sparked when O’Toole realized how hard it was for his fellow veterans to return to civilian life — mentally and physically.

“So we decided to start a non-profit organization and donate the proceeds to professionals. We’re raising money for Team Red, White and Blue, Give an Hour and the USO. And I’ve been been running across America for the last 10 months,” O’Toole says.

Averaging 15 miles a day, O’Toole will log 3,600 miles when it’s all done, and not without injury.

“Ankle injuries, you know I was bit by a pit bull in West Texas. I was in a car accident in Columbia, S.C. It has been one thing after another,” O’Toole says.

But at least for this part of the trek, he’s home.

The Run for Veterans has raised more than $160,000. On Friday, Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota is hosting a fundraising event to help raise more.

In the 21 states he’s run so far, supporters have found him via team updates on Facebook. Some have even joined his run for a stretch.

O’Toole says he’ll likely take a break after he reaches the finish line on Nov. 11, completing his goal of running the country in a year.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter.