Members of the College of Staten Island men’s cross-country team took to the course again this weekend, but with a much different goal in mind.  The squad participated in the Fitness Challenge on Saturday morning sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  The event was held at the Staten Island location of the New York Sports Club where the team competed to combine as many miles as possible during the two hour time frame.  All proceeds generated to the event went towards the Muscular Dystrophy Association, an organization near and dear to Head Coach Robert Russo and the team.  Russo and his wife, Christina, also organize Anthony’s Run for the same cause, named after Christina’s late-brother, who lost his fight with Muscular Dystrophy.

Event host and Associate Director of Business Development for the MDA, Aria Grillo, was on hand to track the mileage and express her gratitude to the CSI athletes for their great fundraising work and pledging miles.  Russo and student-athletes, Matthew Day, Liam McMunn, Kenny Morella, Josh Ribaudo, Andrew Scharf, and recent 2014 CSI graduate, Donnie Taddoni, combined forces to cover an incredible total of 100 miles between treadmill running and the stationary bike.  The many miles paid off as their efforts helped to raise $900 for the event through donations over the past 4 weeks, making it a success.  That’s enough money for the MDA to cover the cost of sending a deserving child with Muscular Dystrophy to camp this upcoming summer.  The summer camp, open in July each year, is a great resource for children with muscle disease to interact with peers and participate in activities geared toward their individual needs and abilities.  

“I am very proud of my team that came out to support the event,” told Russo.  “Through their efforts, the athletes helped do something great for a child this summer and spread awareness of the disease.  And,” he said with a smile, “they got in some great training.”

There are several forms of Muscular Dystrophy, but all are common in that the disease degenerates and weakens the muscles of the body over a period of time.  Children with Muscular Dystrophy experience impaired muscle development and a decrease in aerobic and motor functions due to a lack of proteins to support healthy muscle.  There is currently no cure, but research has made huge strides the past couple of decades for successful therapies and treatments that slow down the effects of the disease.  Head Coach, Robert Russo realized that there are a lot of different charities to support this time of year, but is happy that the team came together to support this event.  The athletes took the miles in stride, and had a great time joking around and competing with each other to see who would get the most miles in individually.  That honor went to Josh Ribaudo who logged 20 of the 100 combined miles.   

To find out how you can get involved in the support of Muscular Dystrophy awareness and support visit the MDA here, or you can visit the Anthony DiMartino Foundation at