By George Melichar
At the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Marathon, a fellow runner told me about the deadly disease maternal and neonatal tetanus. Later, talking to life friend and mentor Marjorie Balheim, The Eliminate Project came up as a topic of conversation. I was inspired by the city of San Antonio's dedication to their community and river expansion, and after researching The Eliminate Project I knew how I wanted to answer my call to serve.
In 2012 I ran 230 miles from New Orleans to the Pensacola, Fla. Lighthouse raising funds for the restoration and tuck pointing of the lighthouse. In July 2013 I will run 270 miles from Canada, over the Ambassador Bridge, through Detroit and across the state of Michigan to Chicago.
The Krewe Du Shoe 2013 Ultra Run's goals are to raise US$4,250 for the Kiwanis International Foundation, highlight The Eliminate Project and facilitate service projects in Detroit, like city park clean-up initiatives and volunteering at St. Jude Children's Hospital. The ultra run will conclude in Chicago by participating in the Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon. On July 21 I will complete my ultra run by crossing the Chicago half marathon finish line.
In 2011 I ran the Detroit Free Press (DFP) Marathon and discovered the Motor City. Days later I was at telling people how much fun I had running the race and how great the city's energy was. The response I was getting was negative and the statements people made really bothered me. I wrote and called the DFP Marathon race director, Rich, because I wanted him to know what a great experience I had; and find out how I could be part of a long-term solution in Detroit cities renewal.
Why did I choose the Eliminate Project? I wanted to be part of a solution to maternal and neonatal tetanus. I look at the world as one big city and globally the cities/towns as neighborhoods within the city.
The sport of running has given me a non-manicured experience in the communities I compete in, almost like a fingerprint to the heart of the people. The city landmarks and local neighborhoods I run through make the journey great; but it’s the communities' residents/volunteers that define the moment as memorable.
I hope in the same way my friends told me about The Eliminate Project that people will see my passion for Kiwanis International and UNICEF's efforts to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus and answer the call to serve.
Anyone can achieve an elite goal without being an elite athlete.