Hamilton man raises $ 34,000 for rehabilitation center after 100 mile race in Toronto and back

Hamilton Ryan polawski embarked on a 100 mile trip on April 30, running to Toronto and home, where he crossed his finish line on May 1. Polawski hosted the event, which he dubbed Ryan’s Run for Hope, to raise money for Teen Challenge rehab organization that helped him and countless others overcome addiction. He completed the race, which ended up doing about 168 km, in 23 hours, and his fundraiser (who is still live now) is currently over $ 34,000.

According to Polawski, the three biggest challenges in running were created by wind, pavement and nutrition. “I had a tailwind of 70 or 80 clicks for about that first 50 kilometers,” he says. “It made that stretch super easy, but it was difficult at the same time because the wind pushed me to increase my pace.” When he changed direction and hit a headwind, Polawski said it was “like running through a brick wall”.

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Then there was the sidewalk, which wreaked havoc on Polawski’s body. The farthest he had run before was 50K, so his legs must already have been kicked as he prepared to travel over 100K further. Running on hard pavement for 100 miles, however, made things even more difficult. “The sidewalk killed my computer groups,” he says. Fortunately, he had the support of a Dr Anthony Lombardi, a Hamilton Back Clinic chiropractor who met with Polawski along the route to and from Toronto to treat him and resolve issues.

Finally, there was the issue of nutrition. Polawski did very well with his nutrition plan for the run, and he says he felt good in terms of energy up to about 130 km. “I ate the food until about two hours before the race,” he says. “I was so bloated when I started, but I knew I had to refuel so as not to please myself.” During his run, he continued to refuel, even though eating was the last thing he wanted to do.

“You are not hungry, but you have to eat,” he said. “I had at least two gels an hour, protein bars and bananas.” He also drank pickle juice to keep his sodium levels up, and there were a few pit stops where he forced several donuts. Eating that much was extremely difficult, says Polawski, but it worked well, and he didn’t feel short of energy until he was in the last quarter of the race.

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Until then, he had made a point of not drinking coffee or Red Bull, noting that he “stayed away from caffeine until absolutely necessary.” After 130 km, he knew it was time to add these drinks to his nutrition plan, and they gave him a boost enough to get him to the finish line at Hamilton City Hall.

After 168 km and 23 hours of racing, Polawski made it to the finish line, by which time he had raised over $ 20,000 for the Teen Challenge. That number continues to climb and by Monday, just days after his run, his fundraiser had reached $ 30,000. It’s now well over $ 34,000 and continues to grow, which is why Polawski plans to keep the fundraiser open for donations throughout May. To donate and learn more about Teen Challenge, click on here.


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Rhonda Lee

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