AUSTIN, Texas - Next month, a veteran plans to run 76 miles from Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio to the Texas State Capitol on the day PFC. Vanessa Guillen was murdered one year ago.
Tina Casanova says she’s doing it to raise awareness for every soldier who has dealt with sexual abuse while on post, including herself. "I will cry, I will be upset, it is going to hurt, but it's absolutely worth it," said Casanova.
San Antonio resident Tina Casanova says she's never run 76 miles. "I don't run 76 miles every day. I've never run 76 miles."
A difficult journey she plans to start on the day that marks one year since Vanessa Guillen was murdered at Fort Hood. She says she got the idea to do it in May 2020, but PFC. Guillen's story inspired her when to do it and for how long.
"Her story specifically gave me my start date. I'll be running 76 miles because it took approximately 76 days from her disappearance to them actually locating her remains," said Casanova.
PFC. Guillen was also sexually assaulted while on post. Casanova says this run was inspired by Guillen’s story to raise awareness for all members of the military who were sexually assaulted while on active duty, and that includes herself. "It did happen. It is part of me, but I'm so much more than that."
Casanova says she was sexually assaulted while stationed at Fort Sam Houston. "I followed the rules, I did what I was supposed to, I felt like I was very trained, and it still happened to me and I still could not stop it."
She says she didn't tell anyone about it for 10 years and used running as a coping mechanism. "To the point that I was creating injuries, stress fractures, shin splints to the extreme," said Casanova.
Now, she understands why she runs and wants to use her hobby to get the conversation going.
The start of this run will be the first time Casanova has been back to post since she was assaulted. "The nightmares have started, the paranoia. I'll have my support there with me, but this whole run is going to be very emotional," she said.
Casanova says has been training for months. "It's going to be like every other day, but [that day] I will have spoken," she said.