A running day that raised thousands to benefit a mission
The sophomore at Duquesne University, where he is a physical therapy major, was supposed to have run in the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 2, but its cancellation because of coronavirus pandemic restrictions ended that plan to raise money and awareness about “Cynthia’s Kitchen,” a mission in her memory.
The daughter of Todd and Carol Phillipson was a 15-year-old freshman at Catholic Central High School who went into cardiac arrest during basketball practice on Oct. 30, 2014. She died Nov. 2 at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Rather than not see the marathon fundraiser through, Long decided instead to run alone on a local course, starting at his home in Rolling Acres and continuing along Main Street in Wintersville, then Sunset Boulevard in Steubenville.
The 2018 graduate of CCHS then turned and ran down into the CCHS Athletic Complex for 10 miles and then ran back to his home in Rolling Acres.
“The course was definitely both physically and emotionally challenging,” Long noted.
“The route I ran consisted of rolling hills the entire way and was the hardest route I had ever run. Around mile 20, both of my quads cramped, and I couldn’t bend my legs.
“From this point on, I had to massage cramps out of my legs every half mile in order to finish. I had to dig deep and remember what I was running for to finish,” he said.
“I also couldn’t have done it without all of the support I received along the way. It was truly incredible to see the whole community come together on that day. It also was a very emotional run as I remembered Cynthia and all the names of loved ones who were written on my sleeves as I ran.”
In the end, Long raised $9,700, which will feed 462 children at “Cynthia’s Kitchen” for an entire year. The “kitchen” is in Bomi, a small, remote village in Liberia.
“Cynthia’s Kitchen is part of Mary’s Meals, a nonprofit organization that provides schools in impoverished nations with daily meals for their students.
“I want to emphasize that this whole event was not about me, nor did I do this alone. This was a local community that came together to do something amazing for a life-changing organization.
“I feel truly blessed to have had the chance to run for the Cynthia’s Kitchen Project and be a part of such an amazing local community.”