Greg Nance stops at Columbiana in the middle of a race across America

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) — A man who runs across the country to support youth mental health stopped by Columbiana on Thursday.

Greg Nance said he hopes the biggest thing to come out of his run is that people can be proactive about mental health, even if everything seems OK.

“Too often we wait until there’s a crisis to react and realize, ‘Hey, there’s a problem,’ but long before that point of crisis, we can be there for people in need.” he declared.

The 3,000+ mile journey is inspired by his own struggles with mental health and addiction that he faced as a teenager.

“When I was 16, I lost my grandfather to a stroke, and I dealt with depression and anxiety as a result, not even really knowing what I felt isolated and alone, and I made a lot of unhealthy choices, Nance said.

Nance, now 33, says running saved his life and he runs to raise awareness about youth mental health.

He started in New York on April 25 with one foot in the Atlantic, and he’ll run about 50 miles a day until he enters the Pacific in Washington state.

On Thursday, he stopped at Columbiana en route to Chicago.

“It’s a long journey, and it’s a journey that takes place day by day and step by step. It’s how we run across the country, but it’s also how you build your sanity, he said.

Nance is completing the project as part of the non-profit group Run across America. He meets with his team four to five times a day to check in, eat and deal with any injuries.

He said it’s a journey he could never undertake alone.

“I’m the running guy, but none of this is a solo effort. It really is a team effort,” he said.

When asked if he will race across America again, he said he will find out after he reaches the Pacific, which he is expected to do on June 28.

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