Man on the Edge

Gladwyne’s Todd Carmichael has a thirst for extreme adventure.

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Gladwyne’s Todd Carmichael (Photo by Luigi Ciuffetelli)On this rainy spring morning, Main Line Health & Fitness is packed, its first floor humming with the sounds of treadmills, stationary bikes and the muffled music from a spin class. Todd Carmichael is there, and he’s a man on a rather unusual mission: He’ll be spending two weeks this fall hiking across Death Valley, the hottest region in North America.

The Gladwyne entrepreneur isn’t your typical gym rat. Truth be told, there’s nothing typical about Carmichael, 45, who holds the world record for reaching the South Pole—on foot.

A few times a week, Carmichael does his full-body strength-training workout under the watchful eye of MLH&F owner Roger Schwab. Today, Schwab is doing double-duty, training both Carmichael and Eric Bazilian, of the storied local rock band the Hooters. “These two like to push each other,” says Schwab.

As they warm up on stationary bikes, the two talk nonstop—Carmichael about his upcoming jaunt to Death Valley, and Bazilian about his group’s summer tour of Europe. Then the real work begins. Six-foot-3, lean and muscular, Carmichael goes from machine to machine performing each exercise to the point of failure. “Todd’s an extremely hard worker,” says Schwab. “I’ve never met anyone quite like him—he truly is a once-in-a-lifetime type of guy.”

Carmichael shrugs off the praise. “I’m just a dude,” he says. “Everyone has a challenge in life; there are people who are sick, who are unemployed. It’s not right for me to set myself apart and say, ‘Look at me—I’m a superhero.’”

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