Crossing the finish line in the Hartford Marathon on Saturday morning for Bethel resident, Chris Longo, was the completion of a goal months in the making.
Chris set a goal 22 months ago after experiencing the terrible loss of his daughter who was stillborn at 22 weeks, about halfway through his wife, Lynne’s pregnancy.
“My life changed in a split second when I heard there’s no heartbeat,” described Lynne.
To honor his daughter’s memory, Chris said he decided to run 22 marathons to raise awareness about the pain of losing a child.
The Longos’ late daughter, Angelina, passed on January 1st, 2016.
“We named her Angelina for little angel,” said Chris.
A month later, Chris ran the first leg of his marathon of marathons as a way to cope, and spread awareness about pregnancy and infant loss.
“I just took off and ran a couple,” said Chris. “I was running them pretty fast early on because I was so motivated.
His journey took him from Washington D.C. to San Francisco, to New York City, and Chicago.
Chris said despite the distance, he kept hitting the road, always wearing his symbolic number “22,” and a symbol of his daughter, her footsteps.
“I have her footprints on my shoe for every race and every training run,” said Chris.
As the bibs, medals, and selfies started to cover his garage wall, Chris said it became clear the final leg of the tribute could come close to home.
Chris crossed the finish line in Hartford on Saturday to the cheers of his wife, and sons.
“It was very emotionally seeing him cross the finish line for her and us,” said Lynne.
The Longos said neither of them thought he would complete all 22 races as quickly as he did, but Chris said he carried one thought with him through his journey.
“I think about why I’m doing it,” said Chris. “I think of it that way.”
Chris told Eyewitness News that the feeling that he has reached his goal has not yet set in, and that, he may not stop running marathons for his daughter, after all.
Together, the Longos are actively involved with the organization, Hope After Loss, as a way to help others dealing pregnancy or infant loss.
To donate to Angelina Longo's GoFundMe, which assists the Longo family in raising awareness for infant stillborn, click here.
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