Vietnam Veteran & USPS Letter Carrier Featured in “Mile 19”, a LA Marathon Documentary
Los Angeles Bicentennial Letter Carrier Johnnie Jameson enjoys running in marathons. Last year, the Vietnam War veteran was featured in a documentary about his life as a legacy Los Angeles marathon runner.
Jameson met Vincent De Luca, the director of Mile 19, while delivering mail on his route. De Luca noticed a tattoo on Jameson’s leg that read “26.2” and inquired about its meaning. He explained that the number references the 26.2 miles of the Los Angeles Marathon course and that he participates in the run each year.
This really interested De Luca who decided that it would make an inspiring documentary. “I struck up a conversation with Johnnie about his tattoo, but I learned so much more about him as a person,” he explained. To tell his story, De Luca and cinematographer Karre Maxson filmed Jameson for a year.
Jameson started running after his discharge from the U.S. Army in 1970. Returning to civilian life was difficult for veterans and he found that running (along with the support of his family) helped ease the transition.
Mile 19 depicts how the youthful 69-year-old Vietnam Veteran used running in LA Marathons for the past 32 years to help combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “I had a lot of issues when I was discharged from the war. Running takes my mind off the pain,” stated Jameson.
The title of the film comes from the 19th mile of the marathon where Jameson finds added strength to complete the race. “When you get to mile 19 during a marathon, you hit a wall,” he explained. “But I use mile 19 to remind me to use my inner strength to finish anything I start. You have to just grind it out.”
Jameson who has been at Bicentennial Station since 1982 has a gregarious and warm personality, and is well known on his route of six years. Over the years, he has inspired fellow co-workers to also run in the marathon. Many of his fellow employees (including carriers, clerks, and supervisors) have trained and joined him on the course. “One year, we had about 20 carriers running together who are now either retired or at other stations,” he said.
Jameson ran in his 32nd marathon on March 19, 2017 and is one of the 178 Los Angeles Marathon legacy runners.
Author: Karen Greene