About Helene

“The most spiritual thing we can do is embrace humanity and connect with those around us. What if we reach out and celebrate each other’s strengths rather than weaknesses? I relied on community and found mankind.”

Helene Neville 

Helene’s Journey

Helene’s journey is truly extraordinary. Her resilience and determination are awe-inspiring.  

Overcoming multiple cancer diagnoses and brain surgeries, she has shown that the human spirit can triumph over immense adversity. Her achievements as a nurse, mom, grandmom, entrepreneur, author, and speaker, further highlight her multifaceted talents and dedication. 

At age 49, Helene embarked on an incredible solo run that spanned nine years, covering 13,850 miles traversing the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico. Completing this monumental run on her 59th birthday at the Arctic Ocean in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, is a testament to her unwavering spirit and commitment to inspiring others. 

Helene is the first woman to run across all 50 states of the United States and only the second in recorded history. She is the first person to run solo.  

Following her record-setting run, In March 2020, Helene ran to the front line of a New Mexico vulnerable and underserved community most in need of travel nurses in the COVID-19 pandemic surge.   

In September 2020, she was assigned to Bismarck, North Dakota. Seven weeks into her nursing assignment, Helene was in a race for her life.  

On October 23, 2020, after feeling ill, Helene collapsed in the hospital emergency room. She was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive stage IV non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that had already metastasized to her liver, bone marrow, spleen, sacrum, and long bones. The diagnosis and prognosis were grim and life-shattering.  

Helene’s story is a powerful reminder that age, illness, and obstacles do not define our limits. Her “Rethink Impossible” message is a beacon of hope and showcases the beauty of humanity. 

By running across America, Helene showcased incredible physical and mental strength and inspired countless individuals to believe in their potential and push beyond their perceived limits. 

Helene has authored six books.

“Stories don’t mean anything if you don’t have anyone to tell them to.” 

Helene Neville 

Running Around the United States

These maps showcase the highlights of Helene’s endurance running. It was a journey that spanned 14 years, one of discovering how much there is that is right about our world – more than we ever imagined. Her historic 13,850-mile run united the country in peace, hope, and love.
Helene is the first woman and the first person in recorded history to run solo across all 50 US states. 
CLICK THE MAPS TO REVEAL THE STORY OF EACH RUN
Continental US
93 Days Across America Border to Border Marathon, FL to Portland, ME East to West Middle America

93 Days Across America

In 2010 (May 1 - August 1, 2010), in the brutal summer heat, Helene completed her first historic run from California to Florida, running an astounding 2,520 miles at 27.0 miles per day, and finishing in 93 days. Against all odds, she became the first person in recorded history to run the transcontinental southern route in the summer and the first woman to run it any time of year  

Border to Border

Canada to Mexico Run

In 2013 (May 1-June 15, 2013), Helene ran from Vancouver, Canada, to Tijuana, Mexico. This run, covered 1,560 miles at 34.6 miles per day, finishing in 45 days. In her backpack, she carried a 26-pound urn  containing the ashes of her brother who passed away just before the start of this segment.

Marathon, FL to Portland, ME

In 2014 (May 1 – July 6, 2014), Helene started in Marathon, Florida, 1,860 miles at 27.3 miles per day, and finished 68 days later in Portland, Maine.  

East to West

In 2015 (May 1 – September 5, 2015), Helene began in St. Stephen’s New Brunswick, Canada/Maine border and finished 3,773 miles, 29.5 miles per day, finishing 128 days later in Ocean Shores, Washington. Helene was the 5th person ever to run the perimeter of the continental United States, the first woman, and the oldest to do so.

Middle America

In 2017 (May 1 - September 23, 2017), Helene started running across the final 12 states of the continental United States. Starting in Evanston, Wyoming, she ran to West Virginia, turned around, and ran to Las Vegas, Nevada, covering 3,142 miles at 21.3 miles per day in 147 days.   

Hawaii and Alaska
Alaska Hawaii

Alaska

In 2019 (April 4 – April 30, 2019), Helene completed segment one of the State of Alaska. She ran 442 miles at 17 miles per day, over 26 days from Anchorage to Livengood, Alaska   

In 2019 (July 15 – August 17, 2019), Helene completed segment two of Alaska. This run spanned 414 miles at 12.9 miles per day, over 32 days from Livengood to the Arctic Ocean (Prudhoe Bay) finishing on her 59th birthday. The final segment of her fifty states run was on the Dalton Highway. The Dalton Highway is the world’s third most dangerous road and almost impossible to complete on foot. Helene is the first runner to run the Dalton Highway. 

Hawaii

Hawaii Run Finish | Helene Neville

In 2018 (August 27 - September 3, 2018), in 6  days at a 21.1-mile pace per day, Helene completed running the perimeter of Oahu.  She finished on September 3rd which would have been her late stepfather’s birthday. He passed away two months before her Hawaiian run. 

Additional Runs
The Rocky Steps The Las Vegas Strip

The Rocky Steps

Helene Neville Philadelphia Rocky Steps Run

In 2016 (November 25, 2016), with a chemotherapy port-a-cath in her chest, Helene created the Marathon of Love in the city of brotherly love.  She began her run at her childhood home in Havertown, Pennsylvania where she scattered some of her brother’s ashes. With her brother’s urn containing his ashes in her backpack Helene ran 10.2 miles to the Philadelphia Art Museum. Helene ran the infamous ‘Rocky Steps’ a timeless symbol of the underdog up and down 384 times covering 16 miles in 7 hours and 30 minutes. The prior record running nonstop up and down the Rocky Steps was only 7 miles and that person hadn't run 10.2 miles to get there.

The Las Vegas Strip

Helene Neville Las Vegas Strip Run

In 2016 (January 30-31, 2016), Helene ran the Las Vegas Strip from the Welcome to Las Vegas to the Welcome to Downtown Las Vegas signs back and forth covering 135 miles at a pace of 3.8 miles per hour, she finished in 35 hours.  

Bridges
Bridges of Hope – Brooklyn Bridge Bridges of Hope – Golden Gate Bridge

Bridges of Hope – Brooklyn Bridge

Helene Neville Bridges of Hope | Brooklyn Bridge Run

2023 Bridges of Hope (November 23 - 24, 2023) – Two Bridges, Two Marathons, Two Coasts, in 24 Hours on Thanksgiving Day. At age 63, in remission from Stage IV cancer, Helene trained for two months and attempted a world record. Her first marathon was running back and forth on the Golden Gate Bridge for 26.2 miles. She then flew across the country and ran her second marathon back and forth on the Brooklyn Bridge for 26.2 miles completing 52.4 total miles, two bridges, and two coasts in 24 hours. On Thanksgiving, Helene used her voice (and legs) in thanks and praise, and fundraising for her young oncologist who has terminal cancer. Bridges are symbolic of connecting and uniting two sides. America needs these messages now more than ever. Helene raised enough money to cover expenses plus $3,000 for her oncologist. "We do not have a choice about who gets cancer, but we sure have a voice,” says Helene Neville 

Bridges of Hope – Golden Gate Bridge

Helene Neville Bridges of Hope | Golden Gate Bridge Run

2023 Bridges of Hope (November 23 - 24, 2023) – Two Bridges, Two Marathons, Two Coasts, in 24 Hours on Thanksgiving Day. At age 63, in remission from Stage IV cancer, Helene trained for two months and attempted a world record. Her first marathon was running back and forth on the Golden Gate Bridge for 26.2 miles. She then flew across the country and ran her second marathon back and forth on the Brooklyn Bridge for 26.2 miles completing 52.4 total miles, two bridges, and two coasts in 24 hours. On Thanksgiving, Helene used her voice (and legs) in thanks and praise, and fundraising for her young oncologist who has terminal cancer. Bridges are symbolic of connecting and uniting two sides. America needs these messages now more than ever. Helene raised enough money to cover expenses plus $3,000 for her oncologist. "We do not have a choice about who gets cancer, but we sure have a voice,” says Helene Neville 

Recognition

Helene’s achievements are truly remarkable and reflect her dedication and impact across various fields recognizing her contributions.

Here’s a quick summary of her achievements:

  • Helene has been honored with proclamations in four major metropolitan cities.
  • The Ski to the City in Killington, Vermont: Killington, known for its extensive ski trails and vibrant après-ski scene, awarded Helene a unique “Ski to the City.”
  • Three governors have recognized Helene’s contributions by pinning an official state pin on her.
  • She has received the symbolic Key to the City in five different locations, a gesture that honors her significant impact on those communities.
  • Helene was awarded the prestigious Runner’s World Golden Shoe Award for her dedication to creating a world-class marathon, the Des Moines Marathon in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Helene was recognized as a Distinguished Women in Nevada for exceptional achievement in pursuit of excellence for creating and directing The National Nurses Half Marathon & Healthy Nurse Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. This event served as a platform for nurses to engage in health and wellness activities.
  • On Oct. 8, 2015, Helene was honored as a star on The Flag for Hope. Helene was 1 of 50 prominent iconic Americans chosen out of 323 million for this honor. Among the 50 icons included as Flag for Hope Stars are Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Senator John McCain, General Colin Powell, Admiral Patrick Walsh, Billie Jean King, Major General James E. Livingston, Muhamad Ali, Tom Selleck, and Carlos Santana, Helene is star number 12. The 50 stars on the flag were painted by true American icons chosen for their achievements, commitment to serving others, and because they inspire us. Their testimonials echo the sentiments of those given all across the country.
  • 2018 – Helene is featured in Liz Vassey’s full-length acclaimed documentary The Human Race. This inspirational film features six runners, ages 50-90, as they each train for the biggest race of their lives. These six athletes cover quite the spectrum of over 50 athletes. From the fiercest elite runners you can imagine, to newer runners attempting their first 5K. We’ll get to know their colorful personalities and gain insight on how running has helped them through various struggles. But make no mistake, this documentary is not “cute” in any way. These runners are dedicated, fierce, and competitive.

How can I help you?