DARIEN, Conn. -- Jeff Schleppy of Darien did not have to work hard to sell the idea of running the TCS New York City Marathon to his wife, Jennifer. When he recounted stories of his one and only marathon from 2009, she swiftly embraced the idea of running the race this year with him.
“It’s a surreal experience,’’ Jeff said. “You come over the 59th Street Bridge and enter Manhattan, and the support from the crowd is overwhelming. To me, it’s the one marathon to run. My wife heard all of my excitement and knew she wanted to do it.
"There’s also a little bit of nostalgia. We lived in the city for a long time, and it brings back a lot of great memories.”
The Schleppys will run the race on Sunday to support the Norwalk-based Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, run by New Canaan's Kathy Giusti.
They knew about the organization through their involvement with the New York Road Runners and decided in late spring to run for the MMRF. Readers can donate to their fundraising page online. As of late last week, they were about $900 short of their $8,000 fundraising goal.
“This is one of the best organizations we’ve come across in terms of what they’re fighting for,’’ Jeff said. “It’s a phenomenal cause and organization.”
Jeff finished the race in 4 hours and 23 minutes in 2009, but the thing he remembers most is the crowd.
“You’re going through these different boroughs, and you have different fans and intensity levels of cheering,’’ he said. “Even though we lived in New York I had never seen some of these area. It was cool to experience them while running. And the cheering is critical to finishing the race. It’s a huge mental assist. Coming up Park Avenue and into Central Park is an amazing feeling. It’s like no other race I’ve ever run.”
Even though he has talked about the experience, Jeff knows Jennifer will be surprised by the crowd support. “I think she’s going to be overwhelmed,’’ he said. “I think it’s going to be great for her. She’s finishing this race no matter what. The determination she has and the amount of training she has put in has surprised me. I’m excited for her to experience what I have.”
The couple plans to run together for at least some part of the race. Jeff competes frequently in triathlons, but Jennifer is more of a runner. He figures that at some point, they will split and catch up to each other afterward.
“We’ll start together and that makes it even more special,’’ Jeff said. “I consider myself an intelligent person. I know if by chance we come to the finish line together, I know who’s going to finish first.”
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