Two active-duty soldiers will finish a 185-mile, seven-day run on Copley Lawn on Saturday to raise money to assist wounded veterans.
Since the event’s inception four years ago, two soldiers, accompanied by a bicycle support group, have annually run the entire length of the C&O Canal Trail, a 185 mile-long path. The two runners will speak at Saturday’s event, along with other veterans, followed by a performance by the U.S. Army Silent Drill Team. This year’s runners are David Brown and Michael Rychlik.
“I have been a support guy for infantry units almost my whole career and I know many soldiers that have been injured or have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Rychlik said in a statement on the 185 for Heroes blog. “I could not pass up the chance to give back to them for all they have given us.”
185 for Heroes works in conjunction with Georgetown University Running Club leadership to coordinate the event, which raises money and awareness for Operation Second Chance, an organization that assists wounded servicemen and servicewomen at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and helps them transition back to civilian life.
“I am always in awe of the work and dedication of our military service members,” said GURC member James Allen (COL ’16), who organized the event. “As college students, we are so removed from the reality that faces many people our age. Every year, the 185-mile runners approach this seemingly impossible task with an attitude of total confidence and an inability to accept failure.”
The Georgetown University Student Veterans Association has partnered with 185 for Heroes and the Running Club to help publicize the event among the veteran population, which includes 500 students across the undergraduate and graduate schools.
“We’re really more of a support role,” GUSVA President Zach Zimmerman (MSB ’14) said. “We hope to see at least 20 to 40 people there; last year, we had about 100.”
Allen said that the event provides perspective for students who may not be familiar with the experiences of veteran soldiers.
“They approach all obstacles with this mentality and are an inspiration to me in my daily life which seems trivial by comparison,” Allen said.
Allen said he hopes to expand the annual event in the future so the work of servicemen can continue to be recognized and honored.
“I hope to make this event bigger every year and eventually make it the premier military tribute for Georgetown’s academic year,” Allen said.