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Altus Captain completes his Journey of Freedom

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kenneth W. Norman
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
With engorged knees and shins wrapped like a fitness mummy, he staggered through the final miles of his journey with the help of his parents, wife and brother. The last five miles took him five hours to complete. Finally 40 hours after he began, his journey was over.

"When I got to the point of where I couldn't walk, I honestly thought I wasn't going to be able to finish. I literally couldn't walk from here to the door without stopping," said Capt. Chris Pace, 58th Airlift Squadron instructor pilot. "My wife wrapped my knees as tight as she could and I rode my bike for the next 50 miles and I walked the last five miles."

Pace completed his 250 mile "Journey of Freedom" from Arlington National Cemetery, Va., to Ground Zero in New York City in a total of 40 hours, Sept. 11, 2011. He originally planned on biking 150 miles and then running for the remaining 100 miles.

"I wasn't able to run after 40 miles," said Pace. "I ended up biking 205 miles and running 40. But I told myself when I got there [N.Y.C] that I was running into the city though," said Pace.

Pace's "Journey of Freedom" was in support of The Disposable Heroes Project, which is a non-profit organization that supports wounded and fallen warriors and their families. His goal was to complete this event in 36 hours and raise at least $25,000 for the DHP.

According to Pace, he fell short of the $25,000 goal, but earned about $10,000 for the DHP.

After Pace finished his journey, his wife checked him into a hospital to do a "safety check" on his swollen legs.

"After it was all over, my knee started getting kind of warm and I started losing feeling in my toes, so we decided I should probably go see a doctor," Pace said.

The doctors said the swelling of his legs was to be expected, but what was surprising to them was after 250 miles, Pace's electrolyte levels were perfectly normal.

After Pace was released from the hospital, he went and observed the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero.

"When they let us in the memorial it hit me," Pace said. "The memorial is unbelievable. I spent a couple hours in there - it was pretty surreal."
Pace stayed true to his promise of not letting anyone stop him and he learned a lot about himself and his limits.

"This was the most emotion - with the highest highs, and the lowest lows - that I have ever had," Pace said, "But it was all worth it - I learned a lot about myself. I encourage everybody to test their limits."

During Pace's journey he had hundreds of social media followers giving him words of encouragement. According to Pace, after his journey he responded to almost every comment he received.

"I just want to thank every single person who helped in some way, shape, or form to help me complete my journey," said Pace in a Facebook note. "It was by far, the most physically and mentally demanding thing I have ever done. I have never had so many different emotions. Whether you were there in person, made a donation, or said a prayer, you made a direct impact on my finish. I am in debt to you all."