Racing The Planet for a Reason

George Chmiel Goes the Extra 155 Miles for Children’s Growth Disorders

Video credit; Chris Lusher with permission from RacingThePlanet Ltd: George Chmiel’s Aussie Adventure

I’ve met a lot of contagiously crazy, enthusiastically energetic, over-the-top inspirational people in my running circles, but I have to say that George Chmiel beats them all. George blows away any idea of self-imposed physical limits.

“Just say no” is not a phrase in his vocabulary. His can-do mindset is mind boggling. And his compassion for growth-challenged kids is contagious.

I had the privilege of interviewing George for baystateparent magazine (watch for the article in June’s issue).  George is a 29-year-old Boston resident (single, no kids), who started distance running a few years back out of frustration over a wrist injury. He blew through ten marathons in three years; then set his sights for an ultra.

Enter Lucy Horvath, the 3-yr-old daughter of George’s business associate and friend Mike.  Luci suffers from a rare, life threatening growth disorder. After George saw first-hand what Luci and  her parents went through on a daily basis dealing with this disorder, George decided he wanted to help the foundation, MAGIC, that helped the Horvaths.

So he decided to run 155 miles in the Sahara desert last November and raise money for MAGIC and the families it supports. Not a 5K. Not a marathon. The Sahara race is the equivalent of six marathons in six days on sand, with desert temps of 100-plus degrees. Oh, did I mention he ran with a 20-pound backpack that held all his food and supplies?

George placed 5th overall in the race, and was the #1 American. And he raised $66,000 for MAGIC.

If you’re not inspired yet, this’ll move you: George just got back from his second ultra footrace in April 2010, RacingThePlanet Australia. He told me Australia made the Sahara race “look like child’s play.” On the first day, George had serious setbacks: unforgivable terrain, losing electrolytes, heat exhaustion, suffering a bad fall – it all added up. But where others would easily have enough reasons to pull out, George dug deep.  Nothing was going to stop him from giving the seven-day-Aussie adventure – and MAGIC families – his all.

I’ll leave the riveting details and the unbelievable ending for you to read on his blog at www.luciandgeorge.com and in my upcoming article.

If you feel inspired, consider contributing to MAGIC Foundation, to help hundreds of kids with rare growth disorders live the best life they can. You can donate here, like I did. Then, go run your own race and make a difference. Deal?

About the Author

2 Responses to “Racing The Planet for a Reason”

  1. Can’t wait to see the article! Thanks Trish!!!

    Mary

  2. LOVE IT! This is the kind of story the national news should run at night and give everyone hope and inspiration. Great story!

Leave a Reply