Running the World for Children Inspires National Recognition

Pocopson, PA – Ten-year-old Nikolas Toocheck who decided at age 9 to dedicate his time and energy to running marathons to raise money for new winter coats for impoverished children has been awarded The Prudential Spirit of Community Award, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. In addition, Nikolas has also qualified for the President’s Volunteer Service Award which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country.

Nikolas is one of only two honorees, who were selected from thousands of applicants, for Pennsylvania. Alex Werner, an 18-year-old from Pittsburgh and Nikolas will both receive $1,000 and a medallion to commemorate their spirit and commitment to others. Honorees are also invited to attend a ceremonial recognition event in Washington, D.C. along with the other state honorees. At this event, Nikolas will be considered for one of 10 national awards which includes $5,000 for his charity of choice.

“I run for other kids because I am lucky and I have everything I need,” said Toocheck. “I run because there are kids everywhere that don’t have a warm coat. This winter has been so, so cold and snowy. It makes me sad to think of kids without their very own coat and I really think that I can help in my own special way.”  While Nikolas may be small in size, his reach has no boundaries. He’s a rocket of kind-heartedness, spirit, and philanthropy that won’t be stopped. “I’ve run on 4 continents so far, with three to go.”  Nikolas is running a marathon on every continent, hoping to raise $1.00 per step, raising a million dollars for Operation Warm.

A year ago, Nikolas embarked on his journey to help kids in need by completing his first marathon. He also completed the 2013 inaugural White Continent Marathon last February at age nine, though because of the weather, he was forced to leave after only 18 miles completed on Antarctica and finish the remaining 8.2 miles in Chile. Marathon Adventures owner and creator of the White Continent Marathon, Steve Hibbs, graciously offered a complimentary opportunity to Nikolas and his dad to complete the entire marathon on the continent. Nikolas and his father Daniel completed this marathon amidst grueling conditions on January 26, 2014.

To date, Nikolas’s “Running the World for Children” campaign, has provided brand new winter coats to over 1,400 children in need, raising more than $28,000.  Operation Warm was founded by Nikolas’s grandfather, Richard Sanford.  To learn more about Nikolas Toocheck and Running the World for Children or to make a donation, please visit:

Operation Warm, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit providers of new winter coats to children in need. Operation Warm’s vision is that every child wearing a new winter coat is healthy, able to attend school regularly and develop a strong self-esteem. To date, Operation Warm has served over 1.4 million children across 42 states. For more information visit:

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