Mike Monroe is no stranger to endurance challenges.
He’s put his athletic abilities to the test numerous times in the past five years. He was the first person to continuously ride a bicycle for 335 miles in a trail system that connects Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC. He did a row-a-thon which consisted of him rowing on an indoor machine for 24 hours. This was all in an effort to raise awareness and money for those with severe food allergies, like his 12-year-old son.
Monroe, a father of two in his fifties, is at it again.
On January 25, he set out to complete 3,000 burpees in 12 hours in an effort to raise $50,000 for the Food Allergy Program at Children’s National. To the unitiated, a burpee is the strenuous exercise in which you drop to a squat, then a push-up and then back to your feet.
[Jan. 25, 2017 update: He made it; completing the 3,000! See: video here.]
Monroe’s son Miles, who is allergic to wheat, milk, eggs and nuts, is the inspiration behind every challenge Monroe does.
“He thinks it is pretty cool. I always say it’s a team, everyone in my family or anyone who is donating or my support crew. It’s everyone working together so I think he’s proud to be on that team,” Monroe told Allergic Living.
“I’m hoping to raise enough money to help fund research that leads to a [food allergy] cure,” he said.
Monroe, a former U.S. Marine, hopes his challenge gives those with severe food allergies comfort in seeing someone taxing himself to push research forward. He also wants it to start a larger conversation about kids with food allergies.
“If you don’t live with food allergies, it’s harder to understand it, especially from a kid’s perspective,” he said. Monroe hopes it will resonate with children without allergies, too. “So the next time one of their classmates, who has food allergies, brings something in a different container it’s not looked at as abnormal. Instead I hope they make that kid feel welcome and not self-conscious about what they are eating.”
Monroe added burpees to his workout routine in September and has been doing them on a daily basis. He reached the halfway point of his goal last week and was excited to tackle the challenge in full on January 25.
His one concern leading up to the big day was maintaining sufficient calories and staying hydrated throughout the challenge.