SAN DIEGO - On Sunday, May 31st, former Marine Sgt. Toran Gaal, will handcycle 26.2 miles in the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. However it's the journey that begins the day after, that has caught the attention of a nation.
Gaal stepped on an IED in Afghanistan back in 2011. Gaal not only lost both legs and a hip to the explosion, but 30% of his brain as well. Motivational speaking and completing the unthinkable have become his motivation in life.
The double amputee is scheduled to begin a 65 day, 3,800 miles trek across the U.S. called the "Ride of America" on his handcycle.
Gaal's mission is to raise awareness, as well as educate people, on the lives of the wounded and injured after serving in the U.S. military. Gaal calls them "limited, not disabled," which was inspired from organizations that aim to help veterans. Proceeds raised for his journey will benefit the Semper Fi Fund.
At Dick's Last Resort in the Gaslamp Quarter Saturday night, 22 wounded and injured veterans plus some of their family members picked up their bibs for the Rock 'n' Roll marathon. Gaal and his fiancee, Lisa Graves-Gaal, were present.
The veterans are being sponsored by the "Achilles Freedom Team" to run or cycle the marathon. Gaal has completed several marathons in the past thanks to his sponsorship from the Achilles Freedom Team, including the Boston, Chicago and New York marathons.
On the trek from San Diego to Washington, D.C., Gaal will only be accompanied by his support driver, Brian Riley. He extends an open invitation to anyone who wishes to cycle with him at any point during his journey.
After Gaal's journey across the U.S. he plans to come back to San Diego and rest for a month, before he begins training for another four marathons beginning in October.
For more information on how you can support Gaal's Ride Across America, click here.