Constable: How Lisle native managed to run 7 marathons in one week
Having run his first marathon in April 2018, Lisle native Peter Krzywosz cranked out a second 26.2-mile effort seven months later. Then, he posted his personal best time of 3 hours and 7 minutes in last year's Chicago Marathon.
His marathon resume got a considerable boost this week when the 26-year-old ran seven marathons in seven days, all to show support and raise money during Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
"Was this an intimidating feat? Absolutely. There were a lot of sleepless nights leading up to this, questioning my ability, my training, and whether or not I can do this," says Krzywosz, who successfully finished his quest on Friday. "But the overwhelming feeling of peace, gratitude, and self-confidence I felt at the end of the last marathon made it all worth it ... It's been humbling to hear so many stories of those battling severe illnesses or know someone who has passed due to cancer. At the end of the day, my hope is to inspire others to do what they know they are capable of in making a difference for whatever they feel strongly about."
Last year, he ran 62 miles (a 100K) from Chicago to Michigan in 14 hours to raise money for a boy battling inoperable brain cancer, whom Krzywosz met through his volunteer work with Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago.
During the month of September 2018, he vowed to run 260 miles and made $6,100 in pledges for the children's hospital.
"I actually beat that by 100 miles," says Krzywosz, who racked up 361 miles by running 27 days of the month.
"I want to do what I know I can to help those that haven't been as fortunate," says Krzywosz, who is raising funds for the third straight September. "Running has been my way of connecting my talents and charisma to those individuals, families and institutions delivering lifesaving treatments, albeit many of these instances have been half-stupid and a full send on impulsivity."
This year, Krzywosz got his inspiration from a chat with his friend, Carina Vallejos, manager of the lululemon store in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood, who told him about her friend, Matt Lampson, a professional soccer goalie. Diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma at 17, Lampson, an Ohio native, recovered and started the LampStrong Foundation, a charity that provides financial and emotional support to cancer patients and their families.
After starting his college career at Northern Illinois University, Lampson transferred in 2009 to Ohio State University, where he starred. As a professional goalie with the Chicago Fire in 2016, Lampson won his first MLS WORKS humanitarian of the year award. He won his third humanitarian award last season with the L.A. Galaxy and now plays for the Columbus Crew.
"Doing some research into who the heck this cat is made me instantly inspired," says Krzywosz, who raised more than $11,000 last week through his GoFundMe page for LampStrong.
A high school swimmer who hated having to run a mile during P.E. class at Benet Academy in Lisle, Krzywosz eventually discovered that he could run a mile and actually enjoy it. "Swimming is just the ability to do mundane tasks well. That translates into running very well," says Krzywosz, who says marathons are just swim meets with better scenery.
On social media, Krzywosz thanks his supporters and donors, and his parents, Michael and Lorraine, who have been cheering him throughout all of his charity endeavors. Those began in 2014, when he was a student at the University of Dayton and organized an event that raised more than $1,500 to help children with cancer.
With COVID-19 and pandemic restrictions canceling just about every racing event this year, Krzywosz, who now lives in Chicago, developed his own series of 26.2-mile marathons for the week.
He kicked off his fundraiser last weekend, running the Chicago Marathon course early Saturday morning and a marathon along the Chicago lakefront on Sunday. Monday, he ran the route of a lululemon store race, ran the Chicago Marathon layout again on Tuesday, repeated the lakefront run on Wednesday and the lululemon course on Thursday, and finished up his grueling ordeal on Friday in front of the lululemon store in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood.
"I get more joy and less anxiety through movement," says Krzywosz, an account executive with Becker's Healthcare, where he works on business development and is a leader in charity efforts. Working from home during the pandemic made it easier for him to train with runs before and after work and during his lunch break. The economy, health care and plans for the future are up in the air, but running is always the same.
"There's so much uncertainty, but the one constant has been to move my feet and run," Krzywosz says. "It's just become part of my ethos every day."