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  • Writer's pictureJoe Nail

Project 1310 | Episode 4: Missouri

We left Death Valley, and the original plan was to run in Vegas the next morning. But I was invited to speak at an event with the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Kansas City, so instead I was off on another flight: this time to my hometown.

For the last 6+ years, I have been the CEO of Lead For America, a national service organization that helps military veterans and Americans of all backgrounds return to their hometown communities to become leaders. Over time, I have been inspired to have LFA place a much larger focus on serving veterans because of my own experience as an Army officer. Each time I have gone to military training I have come back inspired by an institution that, amidst a culture that is so often all about “me,” instead requires that people put the mission and team above all else. Indeed, the number one phrase I heard from my drill sergeant at boot camp was, “Don’t be a f****** individual.”

Even if you don’t like the expletive, I think our country would be a whole lot better off with more veterans who have placed service above self in positions of leadership. And that’s exactly what we’re working on at Lead For America. Not a handout; but an opportunity for the next challenge.

KC is home to one of the most remarkable tributes to veterans anywhere in the country: the WWI Museum.

For this run we set up a 1.3 mile looped course around the memorial. The downside was an unforgiving 26.2 miles of concrete sidewalk. The extraordinary part was recurring dedications to service members and stunning views of the skyline every lap. For anyone who visits KC, I highly recommend not only the museum but also the memorial at sunrise for a quiet moment and beautiful view.

Maybe it was from going too hard in Death Valley, the travel, or the humidity, but this one hurt. I had company the early miles and walked a few with a friend from high school in the middle, but the latter miles passed slowly as the sun began beating down.

I finished the marathon at 11:15 AM. By 12:00, I was at the event speaking to elected officials and leaders across the country about Lead For America.


Time for marathon + 1000 push-ups: 5 hours, 58 min.

Heart Rate: 135

Temperature: 87 degrees


Up next: Kansas



Over the course of 50 marathons, Joe will be running a total of 1,310 miles. Each and every mile will be dedicated to a veteran or service member nominated by this community.


In each of the 50 states, Joe will be running the marathon and completing the push-ups in an iconic location, from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and encouraging everyone to come out and walk or run a mile in honor of a veteran or service member who you know or admire. In each state, Joe and the crew will also be meeting and walking or running with local veterans groups and active military service members.


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