Fourth-grader Running Marathons To Raise Money For Operation Warm

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Published on February 12 2013 4:46 pm
Last Updated on February 12 2013 8:59 pm
Written by Millie Lange

West Chester, PA - Nikolas Toocheck looks like the average fourth grader but what he has already accomplished and plans to accomplish is far from ordinary. At nine years old, the West Chester, PA native completed his first full marathon in December in Lewes, DE.

Now, Nikolas has set his sights on somewhere a bit more adventurous: Antarctica. On February 25 he will participate in the White Continent Marathon & Half organized by Marathon Adventures. Based on available records, it is believed that he is the youngest person ever to attempt this feat. Nikolas will be running as part of his campaign, “Running the World for Children.” Nikolas created this campaign to raise money and awareness for Operation Warm, a nonprofit that provides new winter coats to children living in need throughout the United States.

Operation Warm, which provided new winter coats to 200,000 children across 40 states in 2012, was founded by Nikolas’s grandfather, Richard Sanford. Nikolas has volunteered with Operation Warm in various ways from handing a child a new coat to donating money from his own piggy bank. “I’ve learned how important it is to help other people who need it,” Nikolas says, “and I think that Operation Warm is great because every kid should be able to have their very own warm coat.”

It was last summer when Nikolas decided to combine his love for running with his enthusiasm for Operation Warm. As part of “Running the World for Children,” Nikolas’s goal is to complete a marathon on each of the seven continents. He aims to raise a dollar for each step, hoping to raise 1 million dollars, a million being the approximate number of steps he will take to complete seven marathons. Nikolas will literally be running the world for children.

Nikolas is excited to continue on his odyssey. When asked about Antarctica, Nikolas said, “I hope I get to meet a penguin!” But as far as the long haul to travel “to the end of the earth,” he matter-of-factly shrugs, “it’s all part of the great adventure.” The avid runner and award-winning race walker adds that the actual marathon is the “easiest and best part of it all!”

As he embarks on the next phase of his mission, Nikolas continues to view the long road ahead of him as an amazing and exciting journey for which he feels incredibly lucky to take part. Nikolas’s own words explain it so simply: “I get to do something I love so much and help children in need at the same time. It’s so awesome! Is there anything better?”

To learn more about Nikolas Toocheck and Running the World for Children or to make a donation, please visit: www.nikrunstheworld.com.

Operation Warm, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit providers of new winter coats to children in need. Operation Warm’s vision is that every child wearing a new winter coat is healthy, able to attend school regularly and develop a strong self-esteem. In the winter of 2012-2013, Operation Warm served over 200,000 children. In February 2012, Operation Warm served its one MILLIONTH child. For more information visit: www.operationwarm.org.