Eddy Rogalski has always been inspired by adventurous people. “I follow some career adventurers and find the challenges they do so interesting and inspiring,” he said in an interview last week.
So 36 year old Rogalski, who works in corporate finance during the day, decided he would create his own adventures. “I wanted to start doing unique achievable goals with the added goal of helping others,” he said. Rogalski, who has run two marathons, really enjoys rollerblading and wanted to go farther than the 26.2 miles in a marathon.
So using his favorite number and the mileage between Duluth and St. Michael, Rogalski decided on 220 miles. “It’s unique as a majority of rollerblading events are 26 miles,” he said.
Tuesday morning Rogalski will leave from Canal Park in Duluth in a five day quest to St. Michael. The most he’s rollerbladed at one time so far is 26 miles.
“The key for me isn’t speed, I want and need to be careful not to overdo it with my body so I plan on taking my time,” he said. His plan includes between 47-50 miles on day one.
His wife, Becky, will then be keeping in touch with him on his trip and meeting him at predetermined times and places along the way to check in. “She’s been awesome and supportive about it and our boys are excited though I don’t know if they really understand,” Rogalski said. As for friends and family, “some of them think I’m crazy but I couldn’t have done this without the support of my in-laws.”
Beyond the accomplishment of rollerblading 220 miles, Rogalski has a greater purpose in mind. “To bring awareness and financial support to the Wounded Warrior Project.”
The Wounded Warrior Project has four key focuses: mind, body, economic empowerment and engagement for veterans returning from wars. The project prides itself on the focus they place on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, something many soldiers struggle with when they return from war.
“I’ve known people in the service and supporting this just makes sense for me,” Rogalski said. So he’s been acquiring sponsors to first cover his expenses for his project and anything above and beyond that goes to the project. “Yes, this will be a big accomplishment for me but it’s also about getting money to these wounded warriors.”
Rogalski has been training by rollerblading about 30-40 miles a week but working full time on top of being a husband, father of three and an MBA student can make it hard to squeeze in the training time, “I wish I had more time to train but it’s not the reality right now.”
And once he’s done with this adventure?
“Oh I have a visions of doing other projects. Maybe I’d try something with stand up paddle boarding or something,” Rogalski said.
Rogalski leaves Canal Park in Duluth on Tuesday morning and will be arriving at the St. Michael Legion Saturday at 1 p.m. with a Color Guard welcome. All are welcome. For more information about sponsoring Rogalski and the Wounded Warrior Project, visit his website.