Challenge completed - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Challenge completed

Nick Maniscalco walks 365 miles in 365 days

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Posted: Saturday, September 8, 2012 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Nick Maniscalco saw a lot of things along the way.

Forget the mall, that was something by itself.

People, loads of people, coming up to him and talking to him, wanting to hear his story or just chat.

"I met a ton of people," Nick said, dragging out the 'ton' to sound like 'tuuuuuuun,' to stick the point home. "So many people."

Like the woman, outside her house on Valley Street, who gave Nick gloves when Nick's hands were cold. She had come outside to see Nick walking along slowly, inching down the pavement with his walker in the brisk autumn, one a step at a time.

Was he chilly?

"I'm fine," Nick told her, "My hands are cold though."

And poof, he had gloves.

Shoes, too. He went through four-and-half pair during his year-long journey, which is to say, he's on his fifth set, and they're a bit worn.

People came out and handed him those.

"So many benevolent people," said Guy, Nick's dad. When Guy and Nick's mom Debby stop and think about all the people along the way, like the ones who just wanted to pray for the 24-year-old, they shake their heads in amazement.

"We need to have a party, actually," Debby said about throwing a bash for everyone who watched Nick complete his goal of walking 365 miles in 365 days, which the accident survivor completed Monday about an hour before midnight, exhausted.

And when Nick, who sustained a traumatic brain injury in a January 2008 car wreck outside Walla Walla, Wash., that left him in a coma for three months, crossed the finish line on Wayne Street in Hayden after logging the last five miles (around 10 hours worth of walking), he won a bet.

Not a bet, though he did cash in from winning, more of a challenge.

In August 2011, Nick's brother Matt and sister-in-law Sara challenged Nick to walk 365 miles in a year. One mile a day, their birthday card stated, are you up for it?

"Anything under $500, he had," Sara joked on the motivation for the birthday challenge.

It was gauntly battle for Nick, who was confined to a wheelchair after waking from the coma. When Nick first started walking, it took him around an hour to get 20 feet down his hallway.

Challenge, Nick said, accepted.

"We had a gut feeling he'd take it on," Matt said. "Nick's someone who takes a challenge."

The near-fatal crash occurred on a Sunday morning on Highway 12, as Nick was driving home following a visit with friends attending Walla Walla University. Nick left early Sunday morning so he could get home in time to go to work at his job at T.J. Maxx.

His car hit a patch of black ice.

At the time of the wreck, Maniscalco was an athletic, physically fit 19-year-old. He was a rock climber, a wakeboarder, a snowboarder, a skier, a motorcycle rider, and gymnast.

His goal is to walk without the aid of a walker, just like before the accident. But when Nick took the first steps, they were slow; almost three hours to walk one mile.

"The more I walked," Nick said of taking on the challenge, which was featured in a Press article last year, "the more determined I became."

The people he met along the way, too. So many, who stopped him to ask his story, like the woman with the gloves, the sneaker givers, or the chiropractor and personal trainer who gave Nick sessions for free. And all the people at the Silver Lake Mall. That's where Nick went to knock off miles when the weather was bad. But there were too many people there, actually. Recounting all of them is when Nick drags out 'ton' to sound like 'tuuuuun.'

"I didn't really get a whole lot of walking in," he said of exercise time turning into social hour. "I met so many people, it really wasn't the best thing to do."

Just recently he was almost attacked by a deer, feeding with its fawns in a front yard off Valley Street.

"Its eyes were bright and alert," Nick remembered as the mother stared at him with "this evil look."

"And then it started stamping its feet," Nick said. "I was like, 'Oh dang."

He managed to wait it out, though he was nervous enough to place a call home, and eventually the protective mother let Nick be.

"I can't walk quickly," Nick said. "(So) I walked quickly, but slowly, away."

Dalton, Prairie avenues, Wayne and Valley streets, he had the mileage pinpointed along the routes. He logged 15 miles in the last three days, record days for him that took around 12 hours each. His dad and grandma had upped the ante along the way by each pledging a dollar a mile.

"I had to pay up," Guy said. "He made a bunch of money crossing the finish line."

Nick's going to put that money toward a specially designed bicycle so he can take up his next challenge, biking 3,650 miles in a year. He's done walking for a while, and spent the rest of the week relaxing a bit, but more challenges await, with more people to meet along the way.

"Soooo many people," as Nick says in that emphasizing way.

And right before he crossed the finish line on Wayne Street, one of the last people he saw was Matt, his challenger, darting across the road in the distance. Was he imagining things? He was beat tired, and expected to finish alone at 10:54 p.m. a year to the date the challenge started.

But it was his brother, racing to the finish line where the whole family waited, all of them smiling, their arms wide open.

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  • my own opinion posted at 8:58 am on Sun, Sep 16, 2012.

    my own opinion Posts: 397

    I have seen this young man he is amazing! I did not honk the car horn (can scare a person) but I wanted to let him know thumbs up young man! you have come along way. God Bless you.

  • inclined posted at 9:06 pm on Mon, Sep 10, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 682

    Nick. It has been said,

    A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose - a cause to pursue, a person to love, a goal to achieve.
    John Maxwell

    May your healing be fatally wonderful.

  • Joseph Jr posted at 4:39 pm on Sat, Sep 8, 2012.

    Joseph Jr Posts: 512

    This young man is amazing and inspirational to all of us. I am printing and sending this to several people. I wish the CDA Press might have had the opportunity for a community congratulations party for him.

    Nick, you are truly awesome. Bless you, your family and the lady who saw to it that you had the gloves you needed to keep warm. :)

  • bauermd posted at 12:30 pm on Sat, Sep 8, 2012.

    bauermd Posts: 1

    Great story!! We are so proud of you Nick!!

  • Sheeken Hunter posted at 12:09 pm on Sat, Sep 8, 2012.

    Sheeken Hunter Posts: 179

    I saw this young man cross an intersection near Hayden. It was clear that it was a struggle for him but he kept walking by moving his walker, that did not appear to have wheels, every couple of steps. The people I was with and I discussed how committed he was and what a great effort he was making. It was great to read his story this morning. Your commitment to walk 365 mile in 365 days is amazing. Everyone, especially those without difficulty walking and including myself, should be committed to such an effort! Congratulations Nick! You were/are an inspiration to every person that saw you walking or read your story!

  • Why Not posted at 10:58 am on Sat, Sep 8, 2012.

    Why Not Posts: 4387


  • coexist posted at 5:21 am on Sat, Sep 8, 2012.

    coexist Posts: 15

    Great job Nick! We've missed you at the McGrane Center! Hope to see you back soon.

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