Wounded Warrior Tackles Bandera 25KEduard Lychik runs his own race
Photo of Eduard Lechik, courtesy of Charles Seligman
While working as an Air Force chaplain the Center for the Intrepid, a physical rehabilitation center for the department of defense, I met an extraordinary wounded warrior. Eduard Lychik, 22, of Tacoma, Washington, had lost his left leg in Afghanistan when a rocket struck the truck he’d been riding in while on mounted patrol.
Eduard began running with his prosthetic leg with a group called Team X-Treme, a foundation that brings support and awareness to wounded warriors. Knowing of his passion for running, I invited him to run the Bandera 25K in Texas with me and my girlfriend, Michelle Hey.
On the cool, misty morning of the race, we arrived late, missing the official start. In some ways, this helped ease the usual starting line pressure.
Sauntering up to the starting line about 20 minutes after the other runners had taken off, Eduard insisted that Michelle and I run our own race and not feel obligated to hang back with him. Within a half mile, however, he’d already showed us he could run the course on his own. The course was burly, even for those without a full prosthetic leg: in the early miles, several runners had dropped out, stymied by the steep, muddy terrain. Eduard, still new to trail running, handled the slippery mud and loose rock with grace, dodging cactus and other dangers along the edge of the trail.