WVU grad races for Ryan Diviney

Frank FumichMORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It’ll be the toughest challenge of his ultra athletic career. But, it will be worth it said Frank Fumich, 47, who will begin a cycling journey across the United States later this month.

Fumich, a graduate of West Virginia University, will set off on his coast to coast Race Across America Tuesday, June 16. The northern Virginia native will be raising money for the family of former WVU student Ryan Diviney who lives in a vegetative state following an assault in Morgantown five years ago.

“We’re both from northern Virginia. There’s just so many similarities between his life and mine. We both came from close families. We both went to WVU. I haven’t forgotten those days. And, I realized how easily something like that could happen to me,” explained Fumich.

Fumich, who raised $30,000 for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing by running multiple marathons himself, told Hoppy Kercheval on MetroNews “Talkline” Wednesday, he’s not a long distance cyclist, but the cause is important. Diviney was attacked and beaten in 2009 while attending West Virginia University, suffering a severe traumatic brain injury. He requires around-the-clock care from his family.

“He had so many things going for him. But, he came home from West Virginia in an ambulance. I just wanted to help.”

The 3,000 mile race begins in Oceanside, California.

“I’m going to have to average about 250 miles a day. It’s not a flat course. We start in Oceanside and go through the desert. I’ve gotta go up and over the Rockies, across the plains, and up over the Appalachians coming right through West Virginia,” explained Fumich.

Fumich said more than 40 other racers will ride the course solo while many others are taking part as teams in a relay.

“It’s going to be probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m going to be on the bike maybe 18 to 20 hours a day and sleeping three hours and trying to keep it going.”

Part of Fumich’s trek will take him through Clarksburg. The race requires a finish in 12 days or less.

“This is a whole new level to go for almost 2 weeks on 2 or 3 hours of sleep and that much physical activity for that many hours. I’m totally going into the unknown even for me,” Fumich said.

The Race Across America concludes in Annapolis, Md.