Johnnie Jameson has run his way into the movies.
The Los Angeles letter carrier is the subject of “Mile 19,” a recent documentary that shows how he uses marathon racing to combat post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jameson began running in the 1970s after serving in the Vietnam War, using his feet to ease his way back into civilian life.
“I had a lot of issues when I was discharged from the war,” he said. “Running takes my mind off the pain.”
Jameson is one of 178 runners who’ve participated in every LA Marathon since the annual event began in 1986. The 10-minute film’s title comes from the marathon’s 19th mile, where many runners “hit a wall” and struggle to finish the race.
“I use mile 19 to remind me to use my inner strength to finish anything I start,” he said. “You just have to grind it out.”
Jameson met Vincent De Luca, the film’s director, while delivering mail. De Luca noticed a tattoo on Jameson’s leg that read “26.2,” and when he asked about it, the letter carrier explained that the number references the marathon’s 26.2-mile course.
“I struck up a conversation with Johnnie about his tattoo, but I learned so much more about him as a person,” De Luca said.
After spending more than a year filming Jameson, De Luca released “Mile 19” last year to widespread acclaim on the film festival circuit.
The documentary can also be viewed at Mile19.com.
Jameson appreciates the attention he has received through the film, as well as the opportunity to be part of USPS, which he joined 47 years ago.
“As a carrier, I get to service others, and that is truly a blessing,” he said.