While most kids his age are playing videogames, Nikolas Toocheck is out training for a marathon. Five days a week, Nikolas laces up his running shoes and runs with his dad, who happens to be his coach.
This is a boy with a mission: to raise one million dollars for charity.
To do this, Nikolas decided that he would take a million steps (which is the estimated number of steps taken in a total of seven marathons). Each marathon will be held in one country supporting Operation Warm in each of the seven continents of the world. This is all to raise money for Operation Warm.
Nikolas Toocheck Loves Running
Nikolas’ love for running started when his dad started to train for the Air Force Reserves some years ago. Nikolas found that he enjoyed running on the road and also on trails, happily kicking pebbles along the way. Bad weather doesn’t get in his way either, since his favorite training weather is when the weather turns extreme. Fair weather is reserved for playing baseball and street hockey outdoors.
He has joined at least 100 races in his running career, including track and field tournaments, such as those organized by the American Athletic Union (AAU) and the USATF Junior Olympics. This West Chester, PA native has also competed in race walking, and has been awarded an All American National Champion in Race Walking for two years.
Keeping kids warm through Operation Warm
Coats for Kids Foundation or Operation Warm is a non-profit charity that helps children. They provide winter coats to poor children who need protection from cold weather. It was started in 1998 by entrepreneur Dick Sanford. Nikolas Toocheck is his grandson.
The idea is that a child who wears a new winter coat can feel not only warm, but also feel valued and secure. In helping him stay healthy, there’s a better chance that he will stay in school and that he’ll be able to play outdoors even when the weather is cold outside.
Unlike other organizations, Operation Warm solicits funds to be able to purchase brand new coats to give to children living in poverty. The organization believes that in doing so, it can help boost a child’s self esteem and enhance his feeling of well-being. The program has been so successful, that by February 2012, they were able to help a million children.
Run around the world
In December 2012, at only nine years old, Nikolas participated and completed his first marathon in Lewes, Delaware.
His next marathon will be in the continent of Antarctica. Nikolas will join the White Continent Marathon and Half on February 25, 2013. Now, he is set to be the youngest member of member of Seven on Seven, a small group of people who have joined all seven marathons in seven continents.