When runners were crossing the finish line of the 2013 New Jersey Marathon on Sunday, most of their faces showed signs of exhaustion and pain.
Denise DiMarzo was smiling ear to ear.
DiMarzo, a Jersey Shore native, was diagnosed with ALS – also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease – in 2010, just six months after marrying Chris Benyo.
Before their marriage, DiMarzo asked Benyo, a veteran of more than 30 marathons, if he would run one with her.
Last year, Benyo kept his promise by pushing his wife the length of the New Jersey Marathon in an adult jogging stroller in just under five hours.
Benyo was planning to take his wife to another marathon this year, in order to get closer to his personal goal of running a marathon in all 50 states. But after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the shore towns where DiMarzo lived for much of her life – including Sea Bright, Asbury Park, and Long Branch – they decided that the New Jersey Marathon was the only choice.
So the couple made the trip again this year, from their home in Illinois back to the Jersey Shore, to push themselves and each other through the 26.2-mile race.
And in 5 hours, 27 minutes – surrounded by friends who made the trip from Illinois and the run with them – Benyo and DiMarzo crossed the finish line again.
A few seconds later, Benyo stopped running, went to the front of the stroller and hugged his wife.
“I love you so much,” he told her in between kisses.
For more: NJ.com