College of Staten Island Cross-Country Head Coach Robert Russo and his wife, the former Christina DeMartino, rang in another installment of Anthony’s Run this weekend to rousing success. The annual 5k run raises money for Muscular Dystrophy in the name of Anthony DeMartino, Christina’s younger brother, who died of the disease in 2007, and this year garnered over $20,000 for the cause. The trek through Staten Island’s Mount Loretto helps promote awareness and develop cures for the severe, life-threatening, disease.
“We started the idea behind Anthony’s Run a few months after he passed,” said Russo. “We were determined to keep Anthony’s memory and positive spirit alive. Anthony’s loving heart, courage and perseverance inspired us to start an organization that can help achieve these goals and also directly help others living with similar diagnoses. We knew the best way to honor Anthony’s memory and celebrate his life would be by making a positive impact on others.”
Over 200 runners came out to Mt. Loretto to celebrate the life of Anthony and help raise funds. With the backdrop of threatening skies the group battled on to post one of the best races in history.
The event was covered by NY1 News and the Staten Island Advance (check the links to stories below). The race sported plenty of CSI flavor. Russo, a back-to-back CUNYAC Champion coach with the men’s team was flanked by many CSI student-athletes who take place in the event. CSI Men’s Cross-Country Hall of Famer Jeff Benjamin also took part in the event and current CSI Assistant Coach Christine Pagano won the women’s division with a mark of just over 20 minutes.
All of the funds raised support causes close to home, including offering financial support for medical treatment and equipment for local families that cannot afford the overwhelming costs.
“People really appreciate knowing their donation made an impact on their community. We encourage the event to be family friendly and even though we have great competition among many talented runners, we open the event to walkers and young children,” he said.
Despite the overwhelming turnout and the response by the College of Staten Island student-athletes to support the run each year, both Robert and Christina continue to work extremely hard to make Anthony’s Run bigger and better each year.
Anthony DeMartino passed away in March of 2007, shortly after graduating with honors from Tottenville High School. He was your typical teenager that loved to watch the Mets and Jets, play Smack Down on his Playstation, and spend time with his family and friends. He was an avid reader and writer of poetry, and had a great talent for drawing. Anyone interested in making a donation, or to help support Anthony’s Run can do so by visiting the Foundation’s website at: http://anthonydemartinofoundation.org.