MOUNTAIN TOP, Pa. — Danny Kovalski is a husband and a father of five beautiful children. The oldest just turned 8, the youngest just turned 1. He is a northeastern Pennsylvania native but lives in Montgomery County now.
Danny has a successful career in the mortgage industry with clients who adore him. He's also an athlete, and in a little more than a week, he will be a New York City Marathon runner.
"I'm trying to not think about it. I just want to be able to physically cross the finish line. I just know it's going to be very powerful being able to cross that line."
Danny is running the New York City marathon next weekend for Team Allied Services and You. It's an idea he came up with about two years ago, and something family member and friend Eric McCabe of Shavertown felt Danny should not do alone.
"I have to be there, I have to be part of it. To be with Danny and to literally watch him come from the lowest point of his life when he was in the hospital, and thankfully, in a position where he could recover with the help of such great professionals. To see him now want to take on this challenge, I said, I'm there."
That lowest point in Danny's life came in 2015. He was 28 years old and out for a run with his wife and mother-in-law when he was hit from behind by a pickup truck.
"Our tradition has always been on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, go out for a little group run together. And this particular year, it was me, Maggie, my mother-in-law. We didn't make it that far."
The incident happened only a few blocks from his in-law's home in Mountain Top. It left Danny with a traumatic brain injury, numerous internal injuries, damaged vertebrae, severe road rash that covered his entire body, and a torn ACL.
It was at Allied Services where Danny learned to walk again, talk again, and where he got his life back — a life Danny says was saved by Allied Services.
"Running my first marathon is going to be a huge personal victory. But being able to continue, my goal is every single year to be able to give back in some fashion to Allied, spreading awareness, and contributing to help others."
Danny and Eric have been training together for the marathon for months. And while he thinks he is physically ready, Danny knows he is not emotionally ready. It's another thing Eric is helping with since he has run the New York City Marathon before.
"I've been trying to prepare him for so many different highlights in the race — that first mile when you're going over the bridge, and you literally feel tens of thousands of runners' feet shake the bridge. It's absolutely amazing. To coming over mile 16 onto First Avenue and just feeling that rush of crowd support and love that's outpouring as you hit the island of Manhattan. So, there's going to be a lot of tears shed for him and for me as we experience that together," Eric said.
Running a marathon has always been something Danny wanted to do, even before his injuries, but running his first marathon with Team Allied while raising money for Allied Services has become a full-circle moment for him.
"To be able to continue and be able to share with others what amazing things they were able to do for me. I think Allied has played that impactful role to so many others. But to share that with others, train for my first marathon, it's going to be pretty powerful," Danny added.
The New York City Marathon is Sunday, November 6. Danny and Eric are two of the 72 runners on Team Allied Services and you this year.
Learn more about Team Allied Services and You on YouTube: