WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — A runner from New Zealand, who was told he could never run again, fought tirelessly to return to the sport he loved.

Nick Ashill is attempting for a second time to run across the country from LA to New York.

In August of 2017, he was involved in a hit-and-run accident when running across the country the first time.

Ashill, who is running to raise awareness for pulmonary fibrosis, was 81 days into his run when he was hit head-on while running through West Jefferson, Ohio.

He suffered severe pelvic and leg injuries and had to be hospitalized in Columbus for four months in 2017.

Ashill had to endure 16 surgeries and a lot of physical therapy before trying to run again and finish what he started almost five years later.

We caught up with Ashill Friday afternoon as he was making his way through the Ohio Valley near Route 40.

“My body is strong. I am back. I have about 12 to 13 days to run before getting to New York. I’m so excited, and I can’t wait to reach the Atlantic Ocean,” said Ashill.

Ashill started his second attempt just four days ago at the same spot where he was hit all those years ago.

He says if he runs about 35 miles a day then he should arrive in Coney Island, New York to touch the Atlantic Ocean on June 16th or 17th.

He says about 200,000 Americans alone suffer from Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Ashill lost his mom to the disease.