This weekend I am running probably the biggest marathon so far of the 10 I have run since 2008, Boston 2011 being a close second. It will be my 11th marathon, 5th this year. I am running this marathon in honor of the person whose family first got me involved in fundraising for MS. I thought this would be a good way to say thank you, to run this one, my biggest one yet, in his honor. Chuck Scherwinski is the Dad of a good college friend of mine. He is the second friend I have made with a parent who has MS. Ashley, the founder of Ms Run the US, being my first connection back in high school. Andy got me into my first fundraising event. I had never before raised a significant amount of money for anything, before Andy asked me to be a part of his team and raise at least $1,000 for the MS Bike Tour in 2006 (I think?).
So I agreed and set out asking friends and family for donations, and started training as much as I could on the bike. It would be my furthest ride by far, about 135 miles over 2 days (Waukesha to Whitewater, Whitewater to Madison…) I had a good 5 months to raise the money, and as soon as the weather got nicer I could train. The ride was the first weekend in August. I raised the $1,000 and I put in a decent amount of training time. I was ready and proud of myself. I got to meet Chuck for the first time the Friday before the Tour started, because the Scherwinski’s always had the team over for a pasta dinner the night before we start the ride. So I got to meet the team and they made me feel right at home. I was so excited!
I made it through the miles, and it was pretty tough, especially the second day when my butt was sore from being on the bike for so many hours the day before, and there seemed to be more hills on day 2. I had an amazing time, and I returned to be a part of the team for a handful of years afterwards. I think I completed 4 or 5 years, my best fundraising year being for 2010, when I raised $3,100. That got me a green jersey, which means I was a rider that raised over $2,500. We were usually the top fundraising team and it was great to be a part of it all. The year that I raised $3,100 I held a 50 mile Run-a-Thon (November 8th, 2009) at the middle school I taught at and raise 50 miles throughout the day and asked for pledges (I did the same thing in 2014, 60 miles, raised over $4,500 here in Milwaukee for MS Run the US). It was the start of using my running to fund raise for MS.
I still enjoy biking, but when I moved away from Beaver Dam and was no longer a teacher, I found it a lot harder to train, since I didn’t have summers off and I didn’t live out in the “country” anymore. I bike mostly to get from place to place here, and as cross training for running. I have not seen Chuck, Andy or their family for several years, but I am connected with them on Facebook and I am forever grateful for their support and sparking my interest in this cause. Chuck lives with MS, yet every year he rides and raises tens of thousands of dollars himself for the Bike Tour. His is a name that is honored year after year at the awards ceremony that is held at the end of day one of the ride. He is an inspiration to me, and he is one of the many reasons that I am a part of MS Run the US. Sunday he and his family will be in my thoughts every step of the way through New York. I am very excited to finally be running in this marathon, it is one that I have applied to be a part of for several years through the lottery with no luck, until finally last year I qualified by time and got accepted right away. 🙂
Thank you Chuck and the Scherwinski family!!! This one is for YOU!! 🙂
Feel free to make a donation to help fight MS! Make it in honor or memory of someone else, or just because it is a great organization that helps those who live with this disease. Use the link below to visit my site. 100% tax deductible! My goal is to raise $10,000+ by mid June, 2016.