SCRANTON, Pa. — Cory Cappelloni crossed the finish line at Allied Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center in Scranton and even though he couldn't go inside, he was able to see his 98-year-old Nana, Ruth Andres.
"Hard to explain," Cappellloni said. "It was surreal. It was a very powerful moment. I'll treasure it for the rest of my whole life. Besides my daughter being born, I think it's one of the highlights of my life."
But what a week it was to get there. Cappelloni is a long distance runner, but this was even tough for him. Seven ultramarathons, which are longer than regular marathons, in seven days. A 218-mile trip that started in Washington D.C - the longest run of his career.
"Some people ask me why don't you just drive to Scranton and wave? You can do the same thing, but that wouldn't have been as symbolic or meaningful," Cappelloni said. "Having that mic and being able to tell her how much it means to me and how much I love her just was awesome."
As Cappelloni was running, Andres was battling. She was diagnosed with COVID-19, but with her grandson pushing through, so did she. She's fully recovered from the virus.
"That she's amazing, that she's strong, that she's a fighter, and that she never gives up and I think whether you're talking about coronavirus or what you're talking about in life, I think that's the key: never to give up hope," Cappelloni said.
"It means the work to Allied Services and I think to this community," Allied Services President and CEO Bill Conaboy said. "These are health care heroes that have been in the thick of this COVID crisis right from the beginning."
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"To raise money for a facility like Allied, the donations were great, but the comments with the donations kept me going," Cappelloni added.
All the way back home to D.C. - via R.V.
"I don't want to run for at least two or three weeks," he joked.