DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The Army helicopter pilot planning to run across America to benefit injured veterans is still at home after hitting a snag.
“I haven’t left yet. I took my doctor’s orders and took some time to heal up,” said Tysen Ober.
The 23-year-old planned to start running from Los Angeles to Lubec on Feb. 20 and take about six months to complete the 3,500-mile journey.
But an injury to his right knee has set him back about six weeks, he said. He strained his iliotibial band on his knee.
“I’m getting that taken care of. I’m not going to be 100 percent when I go, but [doctors] said it will be manageable,” said Ober. “It will bother me from time to time.”
Ober said he’ll have to run and walk the distance, but he plans to complete the trip.
“It will be a little less exciting, but I’ll try to run as much as I can,” he said.
In February, Ober said he would run five days a week with two days of rest. He would use those two days to talk with people and raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. He has a goal of raising $50,000 for the charity. So far, he has raised $4,695.
“That’s just in the Maine region,” he said.
Ober secured a camper for his friend Zach Kazan to drive and for both of them to stay in during the trip.
Ober plans to leave for California on March 29 from Dover-Foxcroft. He said it will take four to five days to drive and then he’ll begin his run.
The American Legion Post 29 in Dover-Foxcroft will have a send-off for Ober with a dinner and silent auction to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. The event is at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 24, at the Legion hall at 112 Park St.
Ober said he had a friend in Blue Hill who was injured in combat and heard about the Wounded Warrior Project — a charity to raise awareness and funds for injured service members.
“These guys are heroes, no matter what,” Ober said in February. “They deserve to be recognized. I think a lot of times they’re forgotten. They get that check in the mail for disability, but is anyone checking up on them and seeing how they’re doing?”
Though he’s leaving in just a week, Ober is seeking a third person for his journey. He wants someone who can donate six months of their time in order to film his run.
“I planned to shoot it myself, [but it would be difficult to do while running],” he said. “But if someone wanted to pay their own way, it could be a cool experience if they wanted to come.”
Ober will update his progress on his website, alloberamerica.org, where people may also donate to the Wounded Warrior Project.
He said he hopes to be back home in time to restart his college career at the University of Maine, where he is a veterinary science major.