Chabuz Passes More Than 700 Runners in 8 Tuff Miles To Raise Funds for Wounded Vets

With help from John Schuld, left, Moe Chabuz, at right, pictured near the start line of 8 Tuff Miles, was able to raise almost $6,000 so far for Team River Runner’s next St. John kayak trip for wounded veterans.

Moe Chabuz has done it again.

The Skinny Legs owner and avid runner laced up his shoes on Saturday morning, February 26, not to set a new personal best in the 8 Tuff Miles, but to raise money for Team River Runner (TRR).

The non-profit TRR was launched at Walter Reed Army Medical Center by Washington D.C. guidance counselor and kayak enthusiast Joe Mornini.

After teaching a group of wounded veterans adaptive kayak skills at Walter Reed, Mornini took the veterans on a kayak trip to use their new skills.

By combining the physical demands of kayaking with the community networking — each veteran is invited to bring a loved one — TRR hit upon the perfect path toward health and healing for the wounded warriors. There are now TRR chapter at veterans hospitals centers across the country, and the group hosts trips from Maine to Florida.

TRR first visited St. John three years ago, but had to cancel a second planned trip due to lack of funds. Once Chabuz heard of the aborted trip, he vowed to help raise funds to ensure the group never had to cancel a Love City kayak trip again, he explained.

“It goes back to when we first met them and then they came back two years later,” said Chabuz. “They missed a year because they didn’t have enough funding to afford the trip. I thought maybe I could raise some money and help them out.”

Last year, Chabuz — who has numerous full and half-marathons to his name — ran the 8 Tuff Miles race as a fundraiser for TRR and along the way raked in about $10,000 for the group.

A nagging back made him question his ability to compete this year, but a simple thought made him reconsider.

“I had a little bit of back trouble and was not sure about running,” Chabuz said. “But they were so grateful for the help last year, I said ‘My back is minor compared to what these guys are going through.’”

Back aches aside, Chabuz ran the race at the very back of the 881-runner pack of 8 Tuff Miles in order to collect money for each runner he passed on the way to the finish line. The pennies, dollars and more will go to help TRR return to Love City in the fall with a group of wounded veterans, eager to soak up the healing rays of the sun and the confidence-boost of kayak adventures.

“I start at the very back of everyone and give everyone a head start,” said the runner. “I wait for everyone to get running and then I try to wait as long as I can, but the guy doing the time tells me I have to go. It’s about a minute and a half plus head start from the gun.”

Despite a late announcement of the fund-raising campaign, and an achy back, Chabuz passed 734 runners and finished the race in one hour, 18 minutes and five seconds.

“It was my worst race ever,” said Chabuz.

With the help of John and Brandi Schuld and Sadie Sea owner Tom Larsen, Chabuz expected to raise close to $10,000 again this year thanks, he explained.

“I have to thank all of the walkers for making it easy to collect money by passing them,” he said. “Right now I have in hand about $3,000 and have commitments for another $3,000. We’re also hoping to get some more donations from people and we should be really close to $10,000.”

“People are so generous,” said Chabuz. “Even people I didn’t pass pledged money.”

Chabuz continues to collect funds to help finance TRR’s next St. John trip set for early November 2011. To donate check out, and click on “Hey Buddy,

Can You Spare a Dime,” or stop in the Coral Bay restaurant. For more details visit