Man Runs 100 Miles to Santa Monica Pier for Homeless Youth

Jordan Connell runs overnight to complete the final leg of a coast-to-coast run from New York City to Santa Monica.

A 24-year-old man is running 100 miles from Banning to Santa Monica to raise awareness for homeless youth.

Jordan Connell ran overnight in near-freezing temperatures to complete the final leg of a coast-to-coast run from New York City to Santa Monica, according to his team members and a representative in Kansas City, MS.

Connell started running Sept. 15 in Central Park in New York City, Aaron Bishop of Team314 said in a phone interview Monday night.

Connell founded Team314 and he has "run every step of the way from New York," support crew member Tyler Schmitt said Monday night from Rialto. "Sometimes we run a mile or two with him, to keep him company, but he has run every step from the start."

Team314 takes its name from the Bible passage Titus 3:14:

"Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives."

Connell started about noon Monday at Hargrave and Wilson in Banning, with the snow-capped summit ridge of the San Gorgonio Wilderness behind him.

"Hey everybody, we're out here, a hundred miles away from the finish line," Connell said in a video before he started running. "I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who's followed Team314, and thank you so much for your love and support... We're hoping to finish this journey sometime tomorrow afternoon."

Connell and his team's target is their finish line at the Santa Monica Pier, and they hope to make it by noon Tuesday, Bishop said.

Monday night Connell sent Patch a photo of himself at Ken Hubbs Memorial Little League field in Colton, and he spoke by phone from Colton before he started running west again on San Bernardino Avenue.

"It's not too cold tonight," Connell said just after 9:30 p.m. "This is warmer than a lot of places I've come through to get here."

Connell and his team members said they intend to follow a route that parallels Interstate 10 through Fontana, Ontario, Upland, Montclair, Claremont, Pomona, San Dimas, West Covina and into Los Angeles, then to Santa Monica.

Connell is calling his effort "the Run to End Youth Homelessness." He estimates there are more than a million homeless and runaway teens nationwide every year, including 2,000 to 3,000 homeless teens in his hometown, Kansas City.

"For the last three years I've been working with different homeless youth organizations in Kansas City, with Synergy and with Artists Helping the Homeless," he told NBC41 News in Kansas City in November 2012.

"I had a lot of opportunity to live with the kids that were coming in and off the streets, and so I felt tied to them, being the same age," Connell said. "And I began to really pray about how I could get involved more, this is how that journey began."

To view more photos and video of Connell and Team314 visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/RunTeam314. For more information about Team314, visit team314.org.

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