Lifestyle & Human Interest

New Jersey Teen Takes on Unbelievable Race to Support Military Veterans: 'Run and Keep Running'


Michael Ferrara is a young man from New Jersey who has his sights set on joining the military. As he finishes up high school, he’s found a way to honor those who have gone before him and help the greater community of veterans.

“I really do want to help the veterans of our country,” Michael told Fox News. “They have put their blood, sweat and tears into fighting for our freedoms and for them to end up on the streets I think is totally unacceptable.”

For the past four years, Ferrara has found ways to help support veterans. Last year he ran the Marine Corps Marathon in October and raised around $12,000 for a group home in Colorado, according to a post by Ray Ferrara, Michael’s dad.

This year, he’s pushing himself even further, taking on the daunting Pistol Creek Ultra-Marathon in Tennessee, a 50-mile run, to benefit another organization, VetREST, which helps veterans who suffer from PTSD.

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The organization’s website states that their purpose is “to mentor veterans while providing farming opportunity in safe and supportive environments where they can achieve wellness themselves and produce healthy food for our nation.”

Michael began training last year and will train for a total of 20 weeks before the overnight race on March 19, which starts at 8 p.m. He hopes to finish the marathon in under 10 hours.

“The plan is to show up, run and keep running until my watch says 50 miles,” he said.

Training in the cold has been brutal. The teen has pushed through stinging arms and legs, frozen water bottles and the danger of black ice.

“Breathing in the cold air has caused me to panic, but staying calm and remembering why I am doing this keeps me going,” Michael said.

VetREST has expressed their appreciation for their “new hero,” and have done their part to spread the word and help Michael get as many donors as possible.

“On March 19th, Mike Ferrara will be running The Pistol Ultra Run, a 50-Mile Marathon Night Race in Alcoa, Tennessee, to honor our nation’s veterans,” VetREST shared on Facebook on Feb. 3. “He will be running to raise funds for VetREST. If you would like to support Mike’s passion for our veterans, please click the link below or scan the QR code on the flyer.

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“We could not be more proud of Mike and his commitment and dedication to our Veterans. Mike will be headed to one of our Nation’ s Military Academies upon HS graduation. He is a great American, and a true leader with a kind heart.

“Please help us support this super-human 50 mile run effort. Please share this with your network, and let’s all make a difference. God Bless America and our new hero Mike.

“Spread the word. As always, thank you for your support!”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking