Abuse survivor running 3,000 miles across the country to help other victims
TOLEDO, Ohio (WNWO) - Christian Griffith is working to end child abuse one step at a time. As an ultra marathoner, he knew he had to do something big to spread his message.
He said treatment is what saved his own life after being abused. Griffith is making it his mission to get each child the proper treatment and care they deserve.
“I am running 3,000 miles from New York to San Francisco,” said Christian Griffith.
It seems crazy, but there’s a message in this madness. On Tuesday, he was traveling across Northwest Ohio.
“To raise $1 million for the prevention and treatment of child abuse,” said Griffith.
Griffith’s roots run deep. In his early adolescent years, he became victim to childhood sexual abuse.
“I had developed a lot of dysfunctional behaviors and coping mechanisms that really created a lot of unhappiness in my life,” said Griffith.
Griffith remembers feeling ashamed and embarrassed. One day, he decided to unleash everything he had been holding back through an article on social media. When he received an overwhelming amount of positive support, he was determined to challenge himself. That’s when the Run2Heal mission came to be.
“To me, crossing the country on two feet seems a bit insurmountable,” said Griffith.
The trek started about a month ago and Griffith has been updating his journey every step of the way through social media. Along the way he has met complete strangers that have helped cheer him on. Some people have even joined him for parts of the run.
“In life there are only so many chances you have to do epic things,” said Landon Marx, who joined Griffith on the journey.
Landon Marx is currently living in Houston, but tagged along for the Ohio portion of the run.
“I love Ohio, the buckeyes, all that. It’s a great chance to embrace something I love and support something that’s pretty amazing,” said Marx.
Marx said they quickly went from not knowing one another, to feeling like family. The two have already made it through 125 miles in Ohio.
“Long days are 30 to 35 miles, short days are 10 to 15 miles,” said Marx.
Between a Nor’easter, strong winds, sleet, and even April snow, the biggest challenge has been the weather. Griffith said it’s the people he has met that make it all worth it.
“She parks in a parking lot, yelling my name, I come over to her and she’s crying,” said Griffith, remembering a moment he had on his run. “She had adopted a 12-year-old girl who had been sexual abused. Now, that girl is going to graduate college.”
It’s the same mentality that changed his life, that lets him see this finish line so clearly.
“I’ve learned that happiness is not a destination, but a method of travel,” said Griffith. “When I am striving towards excellence, striving to be better, trying really hard to be a better man... that’s actually making me happy.”
Griffith will be taking a few days off to spend time with his three-week-old daughter. He said she is pushing him to get home faster. He hopes to reach San Francisco by August 23rd.