PALM HARBOR, Fla. – To support national charities Kids Wish Network and the Ulman Cancer Fund, local marathon runner Joel Wonicker-Cook ran 40 miles over the Labor Day weekend.
Not only did he run 40 miles for his 40th birthday, he also ran it for the charities in the sweltering heat of a summer day in Florida.
All of Palm Harbor man Joel Wonicker-Cook’s friends thought that he was crazy, but he has almost accomplished his goal and everyone is now applauding his efforts.
According to Joel, “We had an absolutely great day Saturday, beginning at 4:00am at Lansbrook Lakefront Park where a few hearty souls joined me on my odyssey. Kym Rivellini, who turned 40 years old herself September 4th, joined me for the entire 40 miles. Throughout the day, I had more than 25 running and riding partners and I truly wouldn’t have made it without them. As Kym and I noted to each other, ‘I get by with a little help from my friends…’
The first 20 miles clicked off like a metronome, with little challenge and not much suffering. The halfway point however was playing tricks on me. At that point, I began to have some stomach discomfort and my feet began to be uncomfortable. At the lap 5 rest stop, Kym handed me a banana, and it seemed to do wonders. The last two laps were much better.
Much better doesn’t mean easy. While most of the course was shaded, the sun was brutal along a one mile stretch of East Lake Road. We had to walk that stretch. Once we reached the mile 4 marker, we knew we had it in the bag and kicked up the pace. With help and support from so many friends, I crossed the finish line in a dead sprint; Kym finished a minute back to break the tape in triumph as well.”
His ultimate goal for this 40 mile run was to raise $4,040 for both Kids Wish Network and the Ulman Cancer Fund.
Kids Wish Network is a locally based national charity that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. They are also a longtime client of Joel’s company, Vertical IT Solutions. Through this relationship, he’s been able to witness the wishes the charity has granted and the smiles they have spread all across the country. He wanted to help.
Though the race itself is over, Joel is still not done with helping his two charities of choice. Through the fundraising for the event, Joel almost reached his $4,040 goal, but he’s not quite there yet and he’s certainly not sitting this one out.
“We’ve just about reached our fundraising goal,” he says. “If you’d like to help us cross this finish line, please visit http://www.4040run/charities.html.”
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of its wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit their website at www.kidswishnetwork.org