Ever hear of Nikolas Toocheck? No? Well, you're about to. This 9-yr old wunderkind is about to run in the inaugural White Continent Marathon, his second marathon, in a goal to run the daunting 26.2mi race on each continent.
The Pennsylvania Phidippides, who ran his first marathon this past December in Delaware, is a fairly active kid (and I use the term fairly loosely). The son of an Air Force reservist, Nikolas began running with his father as he prepared for the AF physical fitness test and found that the higher the miles got, the better he enjoyed them. Unable to choose a favorite sport among football, baseball, hockey and running, Nikolas found himself wondering about different marathons in different climates and, according to his Mother, proposed the idea of running a marathon on each continent himself. And here I was proud of my decision to have a banana for breakfast in place of a Sausage McMuffin.
Some of you may remember an earlier article on She's a Harriette relating to high-mileage and speeds in younger runners, proper training and the long-term effects this can have on their athletic development and physical growth; and I must admit these concerns were the first things I thought of upon learning about Nikolas. Happily, it seems his parents are much more educated and determined to ensure their sons safety. Not only did they put in the personal research on the effects of marathon miles in children, but they set their son up with a plethora of doctors and exams, including EKGs to determine if he had any undetected heart issues, as well as developed a strict training regimen and diet. Luckily, Nikolas was given a clean bill of health and on February 25th, 2013 he will be running his second marathon in Antartica.
Aside from the overall impressiveness of Nikolas Toocheck, he's also completing these miles for charity! Operation Warm, a non-profit organization founded in 1998 by Nikolas' grandfather, works with schools, shelters and other social services agencies in 40 states to supply children in need with warm clothing for the winter. Seeing as the Toocheck family hails from Pennsylvania (were temperature this week are colder than they will be in Antartica), one can imagine the great impact warm clothing can have on the life of a child in need. Nikolas has a donation page on his website, which you can find here.
Here's to Nikolas, he's true blue! On out to Antarctica, and I hope you get to meet that penguin!
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