Interview with Nikolas Toocheck | Eleven-Year-Old Marathoner

photo credit: Nik's Facebook page

photo credit: Nik’s Facebook page

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Nikolas Toocheck (age 11) is the youngest runner to complete a marathon on all seven continents.

He was inspired to start running when he witnessed his dad, Daniel Toocheck, cross the finish line at the NYC Marathon.

After completing a half marathon Nik noticed how much energy he still had left so he asked his parents if he could try running a full marathon.

Then he had the idea to run a marathon on all seven continents.

After checking with sports medicine doctors and pediatricians Nik’s parents decided to help him pursue his seven continent goal.

In September of 2014 he completed this goal setting a World Record at age 11 and raising over $40,000 for Operation Warm an organization that provides new coats to underprivileged children.

Nik’s Seven Continent Record

  • Asia – Kazbegi Marathon 2014, Kazbegi, Georgia
  • Europe – Swissalpine Marathon 2014, Davos, Switzerland
  • Africa – Victoria Fall Marathon 2014, Zimbabwe
  • Antartica – White Continent Marathon 2014
  • Australia – Brisbane Marathon 2013, Brisbane, Australia
  • South America – Punta Arenas Marathon 2013, Punta Arenas, Chile
  • North America – Fortitude for First Descents Marathon 2012, Lewes, Delaware

Keeping Marathon Training Fun

Daniel Toocheck says that Nik runs like a kid and trains like a kid. His cross-training consists of sports and the normal play of an active kid who loves to be outside.

His website says,

He can’t run in a straight line, even when there is some form of pathway. If you’re behind him, you can watch him kicking rocks and grass, jumping in the occasional stream, and in winter, climbing up the largest snow mound.

For long runs the two would run six miles to a doughnut shop, get a treat, and run six miles back home. (*mental note, I need to try this).

Daniel told us that Nik’s motivation to run comes from within. He was free to drop out of the seven continents challenge at any time.

“Have you ever tried to get your kids to put their dishes in the sink?” Daniel says jokingly. “You can’t get someone to run 26 miles if they don’t want to do it.”

I know first hand how difficult it can be to get kids interested in running. This last summer Angie and I tried to implement a daily exercise program for our three sons. It went something like this . . .

Me, “Ok, son go run to the fence and back 10 times.”

Son, “I think my leg is broken.”

The problem with this scenario is that my program lacked a key element universally popular with all children -FUN.

Fun is also important for adults who desire to run marathons. This I think explains the success of the Marathon Maniac club whose members are all zany (my wife is a member).

Here are some other ideas I just thought of for keeping your training fun:

  • Do destination marathons. So many cool races these days.
  • Run with friends. Plenty of opportunity to OMG and LOL.
  • My personal favorite: go for a change of scenery. Find a new trail.
  • Here’s an idea sent in from a listener in Seattle. He and his wife go on running dates. They start from home and run to a cool restaurant/destination in the city then catch a cab back home.

In conclusion, I think we can all take a lesson from this remarkable eleven-year-old marathoner. You are never too young or too old to try something epic.

And remember to have a lot of fun in the process.

photo credit: Nik Runs the World FB page

photo credit: Nik Runs the World FB page

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Swiftwick Socks – Compression socks that prevent blisters.

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