Las Vegas Sun

September 26, 2017

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Four-time cancer survivor Helene Neville of Henderson completes 2,000-mile run


Edna Hospital

Las Vegas runner and cancer survivor Helene Neville, right, with Diane Lane and Edna Adan.

Runner and Cancer Survivor Helene Neville

Las Vegas runner and cancer survivor Helene Neville. Launch slideshow »

For the first time in 70 days, 53-year-old Henderson grandmother Helene Neville is off her feet, and instead of running more than 25 miles a day, she’s back behind a steering wheel. Ahead of schedule by four days, Helene completed her amazing 2,000-mile run from Atlantic Beach, Fla., to Portland, Maine.

The incredible achievement adds to her history-making world records. Helene has now successfully completed three-quarters of her brutal trek of the perimeter of the United States. But upon return this Saturday from a cross-country drive, she now faces a year of preparation — physically and emotionally — for the final leg next spring from the Maine border in Canada across the top of America to Washington state.

That’s a 3,400-mile run but will complete her 10,000-mile contiguous run of the perimeter of the lower 48 states. She plans to start that next spring. I spoke with Helene in New York this morning:

“I feel fantastic except for the blisters and sore feet. I did the run ahead of schedule — one day as many as 60 miles but others the normal 25 miles per day. I’m in great shape and am just hoping my 1998 Isuzu gets me back to Las Vegas this weekend. I have a party to go to!”

The indomitable nurse, author, inspirational speaker and four-time cancer survivor said in my story posted April 10: “My run is not to realize my own dream but to inspire others to realize theirs.” She stopped in so many fire stations along her amazing journey that the Portland Fire Department set up fire trucks with an arch of water to mark the finish line.

She told me today: “Sometimes I had to ring stranger’s doorbells asking for water, and I know one man thought I was an outer-space alien in my running outfit and actually checked to see if a flying saucer had landed nearby.” Helene credits all the volunteers who drove her car each day to her new overnight motel or friend’s home.

In 2010, she became the first to run the southern route from Ocean Beach, Calif., to Florida covering 2,520 miles in 93 days in the heat of summer. In 2013, she covered 1,500 miles in 45 days from the Canadian border down to the Mexican border. On this Florida-to-Maine route, she stopped in Philadelphia to place her brother’s ashes she’d carried in an urn in their maternal grandparents’ grave.

Bravo, Helene — an extraordinary accomplishment!

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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