CHICAGO — The Chicago Marathon will be Tim Wambach's shortest run in weeks.
Wambach, an Edgebrook native, this week started a stretch where he'll run 30 miles a day for 40 straight days. The 42-year-old Loyola Academy and Northeastern Illinois University graduate is undertaking the 1,200-mile challenge to raise money for the Keep On Keeping On — the nonprofit he founded with Mike Berkson.
Wambach has known Berkson, who has severe cerebral palsy, since 2001, when Berkson was in seventh grade in suburban Glenview and Wambach was his personal aide in school. Wambach in 2005 performed a similar challenge, running 700-plus miles to make people aware of Berkson's condition, and the feat received so much attention that the pair founded Keep On Keeping On two years later. They also pair together as professional speakers and performers at schools and corporations with the business they created: Handicap This.
"All this good stuff poured out because of this crazy idea I had in 2005, and I'm doing it again, I'm hoping even more good stuff comes from it," Wambach said.
Wambach started his runs in Orlando and will be running 30 miles a day multiple times in different cities like Atlanta, Tallahassee, Cincinatti and Indianapolis — and he'll make overnight commutes between each stop. After he finishes 1,200 miles, he'll run in the Chicago Marathon — 3.8 miles less than his usual jaunts.
"The more I'm doing this, I don't think any marathon distance will be easy, but it will be less," Wambach said.
Berkson, who is confined to a wheelchair, said his relationship with Wambach "brings out the best in both of us."
"This run is a symbol of the strength in all of us," said Berkson, who lives in Glenview. "Tim inspires me to stretch and move toward a better me, and I have inspired Tim to use his abilities."
Wambach said he and Berkson have three major goals: To have a major motion picture made about their story, perform on Broadway and host "Saturday Night Live."
"If any of those things come true, that's huge," Wambach said. "It gives us big things to shoot for."
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