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TCS New York City Marathon

Fort Salonga resident Wayne Trumbull ran his first marathon in honor of his friend Paul Gugliuzzo who survived respiratory failure. Photo from Wayne Trumbull

To honor his close friend’s fight for life, a Fort Salonga resident took his mark in Staten Island Sunday morning for the run of his.

Wayne Trumbull was among the 50,000 participants in the TCS New York City Marathon Nov. 5, running the 26.2-mile race from Staten Island to Central Park to commemorate his friend Paul Gugliuzzo’s perseverance during a harrowing battle with lung failure last year. It was his first time running a marathon.

Trumbull, 50, ran as a member of the American Lung Association team and raised $11,000 for the organization leading up to the marathon. The funds raised will go toward research, advocacy and medical equipment for lung diseases.

Trumbull, a professional tax partner and part-time sports coach, completed the five-borough race with an unofficial time of four hours, 29 minutes, to the roar of thousands of people lining the streets. The loudest of cheers for him came from members of the Fort Salonga community, including Gugliuzzo, who gave Trumbull a high five as he passed by.

“It’s not easy for a casual runner like me to run 26 miles, but when the chips are down, I’m focusing on what Paul went through,” Trumbull said prior to the race. “He was on the brink of death and he bounced back. This is very motivating and emotional for me.”

Wayne Trumbull and his friend Paul Gugliuzzo. Photo from Wayne Trumbull

Gugliuzzo — a Fort Salonga resident, former construction manager and a friend of Trumbull’s since their sons joined the same Kings Park youth baseball team 10 years ago — was diagnosed with upper lobe emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2009.

His conditions progressively worsened, and in March 2016 he underwent a bilateral lung volume reduction surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. His doctors initially advised it would keep him in the hospital for a week. Medical complications occurred, however, and the day after the surgery, Gugliuzzo went into respiratory failure. He was placed into a medically induced coma for five weeks. He spent 107 days in the surgical intensive care unit — during which time his blood was oxidized with an ECMO machine and he battled multiple bouts with pneumonia. He was released from the hospital in August 2016.

Throughout the lengthy ordeal, Trumbull spent every Friday night at his friend’s bedside offering Gugliuzzo’s wife, Patti, and family members a much-needed reprieve as they were there 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Wayne supported us at a time when we needed it most,” Patti Gugliuzzo said. “Truly, if it weren’t for Wayne and our friends in Fort Salonga who rallied around us, I don’t know how we would’ve made it.”

It was during these nights Trumbull realized he had to do something significant for Gugliuzzo.

“At that point I didn’t know if it was going to be to honor his life or his battle — fortunately it ended up being his battle,” Trumbull said.

A casual runner who had previously only competed in Northport’s Great Cow Harbor 10K and other smaller races for charity, Trumbull began the process of fundraising for the American Lung Association. He learned that it was a sponsor for the New York City Marathon.

The marathon was never something I had on my bucket list, but I knew it was significant and something that took a lot of effort and commitment, and would be a fight in and of itself,” he said. “This is just what I consider being a good friend.”

As the 2016 American Lung Association’s team filled its limited spots by the time Trumbull pursued entry, he applied for this year’s team as soon as they took applications. He was part of a strict training program beginning this past summer and ran five days a week for four months in preparation.

Gugliuzzo, who said his lungs are better now than they’ve been in 15 years, is in the process of rehabilitating himself. He’s looking to Trumbull’s participation in the marathon as motivation to hop on the treadmill every once in awhile.

“If Wayne can do 26 miles, I can do two,” Gugliuzzo said. “Me inspiring him in turn inspires me back. It’s heartwarming what he’s done for me.”

He said his hope one day is to run in the Great Cow Harbor 10K alongside Trumbull.

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Stu Fisher will run in his first New York City Marathon Nov. 5. Photo from Stu Fisher

One runner in this year’s TCS New York City Marathon hopes meeting his running goal will help raise awareness about the plight of those who suffer from rare diseases.

After beginning to run nearly two years ago, Stu Fisher, 66, will compete in the marathon for the first time Nov. 5 after completing nine races this past year. The East Setauket resident will be a part of the Running for Rare Diseases marathon team, which runs in support of the National Organization for Rare Disorders. The nonprofit is a patient advocacy organization dedicated to individuals with rare diseases and the groups that serve them.

In the marathon, Fisher will be running for Shaylee Boger, who was assigned to him by NORD. Fisher also will be running in honor of his nieces Arielle Candace Fisher, who died of Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, which is also known as spinal muscular atrophy type 1, where children will sit but never walk, before she was 1 year old; and Navarin Aeon Viloria, who was diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome, an increasingly recognized disorder with sudden, repeated attacks of severe nausea, vomiting and physical exhaustion that occur with no apparent cause.

Fisher’s daughter Stefanie will join him in running his first NYC Marathon. Photo from Stu Fisher

An operation engineer for Cumberland Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Brooklyn, Fisher said he began thinking about running 15 years ago when he cheered on his oldest daughter Donna in the Philadelphia Marathon. At the start of 2016, Fisher said he made the decision to start running, and his youngest daughter Stefanie, who will also participate in the marathon, encouraged him by taking him to West Meadow Beach, where they ran along Trustees Road.

“She helped me run a little bit, and rest, because I was winded after 15, 20 seconds,” Fisher said of his youngest daughter. “She kept moving me progressively farther distances until after a couple of weeks, I was able to not have to stop anymore.”

Recently, he has been working 80-hour weeks, but said he makes training a priority — something his wife Vivian Viloria Fisher, a former county legislator, has been supportive of. Stu Fisher said he joined an online coaching program, Jeff Galloway Training, to improve. He runs short runs Tuesdays and Thursdays, a long run on the weekend and takes a break from training the other days.

“Your body needs time to repair, especially when you’re older,” he said.

Fisher said his online coach Chris Twiggs, chief training officer with Jeff Galloway Training, has instructed him to take structured walks of 30 seconds between running. He can now complete 20 miles 15 minutes faster than if he ran continuously. Twiggs said Fisher, who has been training for the marathon since January, was wise by starting early, and has been building up his speed.

“His body is ready because of the work he has already put in,” Twiggs said.

Fisher, who is a member of the Long Island and New York City Road Runners clubs, said his last run was 25 miles. To train, sometimes after working a full day, he’ll run through the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Williamsburg area, then over the Brooklyn Bridge uptown on the west or east side all the way to Central Park.

He’s now lost more than 25 pounds running, and said he has advice for those who start the rigorous activity later in life.

“Once you start [running] you’ll see pounds will start to melt off, and then you feel a little better — that helps you with your stamina and motivation for running,” he said. “It’s not a regressive cycle like other things; it’s a progressive cycle.”

“He’s set on being a runner for life now.”

—Stefanie Fisher

His daughter Stefanie, who has been running for a few years and competed in the Philadelphia Half Marathon and other races, said she does it more for fun than to win. She said her father always stays positive, which motivates and inspires her.

“He’s set on being a runner for life now,” she said.

Stu Fisher said he’s hoping to run the marathon — which is more than 26 miles — in 4 hours, 59.59 minutes. Stefanie said the two of them made a pact to run together the whole race. If one slows down, the other one will slow their pace, too.

“I’m just excited that we’re going to cross the finish line together,” she said.

Twiggs said he believes his runner has a good shot completing the race in five hours due to the time he has put into training and being in good shape.

“My goal for him, honestly, is just for him to get to the finish line and have a smile on his face and be proud of himself,” Twiggs said. “Maybe [he’ll] want to do another one.”

Fisher is confident he will accomplish his goal for the nonprofit organization and those he’ll represent.

“It’s so unbelievably awesome,” he said of getting the opportunity to compete in the race. “This is a life experience. How many people could run a marathon with their daughter at my age?”

Fisher has already raised more than $1,000 for the National Organization for Rare Disorders. For more information about the group, visit www.rarediseases.org.

Photos from United Way of Long Island Across, Steve Kostoff, Deena Menendez, Kathy Wagner and Erick Rosales will compete with five other members of Team Mission United, to raise money for veterans. Photos from United Way of Long Island

By Desirée Keegan

Four North Shore runners have joined Team Mission United, competing for the charity United Way of Long Island during the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon.

Steve Kostoff, Erick Rosales, Kathy Wagner and Deena Menendez will team up with five other athletes for the 26.2-mile race, which will take place on Nov. 6 and benefit 135,000 veterans and military families on Long Island.

Kostoff, who lives in Mount Sinai, said as soon as he found out Mission United was the program he would be running for, he went to the organization’s website to learn about its works, which focus on employment services, education, financial services, health and housing support.

“Many of these men and women went overseas to fight for us, now they have to come back and in many cases fight for themselves to receive care,” he said. “Any way I can help to raise funds or get the word out is important.”

“It’s a great opportunity to give back and do my part for veterans — they have sacrificed so much to give us our freedom.”

— Erick Rosales

Kostoff works for Suffolk Bus Corp. as an ADA bus driver. Through his job he’s supported United Way of Long Island over the years, and has come to hear many stories of veterans and their special needs, as he often transports disabled veterans to Northport VA Medical Center for appointments.

John Corrado, president of Suffolk Transportation Service and past president of United Way of Long Island’s board of directors, is pleased to support Kostoff in his efforts as he runs his first full marathon.

“To have the chance to see an exemplary employee like Steve compete is truly inspiring,” he said. “Not only will be have our organization’s support, but I am certain that his colleagues will rally around him on his journey to the finish line.”

Rosales, of Coram, a UPS driver, is also eager to compete. He said he’s been training for the marathon for a long time and has previously competed in 10 others, including the NYC Marathon which he’s raced in three times.

“It’s a great opportunity to give back and do my part for veterans — they have sacrificed so much to give us our freedom,” he said. “We should honor all veterans whenever we have the chance. Compared to what they have done for us the effort by me is just a drop in the bucket. I’m in 100 percent.”

Rosales will be joined in the race by his good friend, fellow colleague and training partner, Bill Ude.

Wagner, of Huntington, is meeting the challenge with great enthusiasm.

“It was a no-brainer for me,” she said of choosing to be a part of the race. “I never thought I’d run in the NYC Marathon because it’s really difficult to get in to, but when the opportunity presented itself I couldn’t say no.”

Wagner, generalist manager for the Long Island Region of Enterprise Holdings, is the leader of the Enterprise United Way of Long Island campaign which she’s been running since 2008, so she’s a big cheerleader and supporter for the cause. She said she feels Mission United is a vital program to assist veterans.

“Training is a part-time job and it’s nothing compared to what these men and women have done for our country. This will help with the needs of our veterans returning home.”

—Deena Menendez

“This is a huge race supporting a huge cause … I’m really excited for it,” she said, adding that she has a lot of family members who are veterans, including her grandfather, three uncles and a couple of cousins whom she’s close with. “I know the struggles they’ve had returning after they’ve served, and I think that any organization that’s there to help that process and help them acclimate back into society is totally worthwhile and totally worth raising money for.”

Wagner has competed in both 5K and 10K events, half marathons, mud runs and warrior dashes. Her boss, Eric Schonhoff, Enterprise’s regional vice president who has also been supportive of United Way of Long Island and serves on the board of directors, is inspired by Wagner’s efforts.

“Not only is it great to back a seasoned runner like Kathy, but she also deserves accolades for putting her heart and soul behind Mission United and the entire campaign,” he said.

Menendez, of Hauppauge, who is a claims adjuster for Geico in Woodbury, is running for Team Mission United as a labor for love, as she too is surrounded by family members in the military. Her husband is an Air Force veteran; her eldest son Sean is in the Coast Guard serving in Astoria, Oregon; her middle son Scott served in the Army; and her youngest son, Shane, is a Marine in San Diego, California.

She began intense training for the marathon and was approached by a past supervisor about volunteering to become a participant for the team, and was delighted to accept.

“It’s an honor for me just to be in the run,” Menendez said. “I keep my family in my thoughts to motivate me. Training is a part-time job and it’s nothing compared to what these men and women have done for our country. This will help with the needs of our veterans returning home. They face so many challenges acclimating to civilian life after military life, so Team Mission United helps them get homes and jobs, and raising money will help benefit so many more veterans.”

Participants have set a goal of raising $20,000 for United Way of Long Island’s veterans programs, and are looking for support. To learn more about the team and its efforts, visit www.unitedwayli.org/team-mission-united-supports-long-island-veterans.