When Prince’s Bay resident Joe Scanni, 52, takes his place at the start of the New York City Marathon on Sunday, he will be flanked by his two sons – Joseph, 25, and Hudson, 20.
And when the Scanni triumvirate arrive at the finish line, they’ll be greeted by Joe’s mother, Marge. Thirty-six years earlier, Marge rode the same route through the Big Apple’s five boroughs alongside her late husband, Tony, in the 1985 marathon. Joe says he will be thinking of his father, who died in 2003 , and to his entire family, as he crosses the finish line and greets his mother and wife, Christina.
“I think it’s going to be the greatest feeling of all time, I already have butterflies in my stomach like I’m 18,” Joe Scanni said.
“I can’t wait to see my mother at the finish line,” he added. “It’s very emotional for me and I’m very excited.”
Joe, who didn’t start running until later in his life, says his three children (including daughter Kayla) ran track in high school. In fact, just three years ago, Joe decided to take up road running after joining Kayla for conditioning training.
“I don’t have racing experience,” he admits. “Three years ago I started this quest to start running, all of my kids ran track. My daughter was doing strength and conditioning training and I asked if I could step in.
“It was a one-mile run,” Joe recalls. “Then one thing led to another.”
And a mile brought another… and another, and another. Soon Joe was running 10 to 20 miles a week – regularly jogging between the Conference House in Tottenville and Hylan Blvd.
His new hobby coincided with the onset of the pandemic, which only left him with more time to dedicate to the world of racing. Eventually he built up to 35-45 miles a week, going down Hylan and back each day.
“I had nothing else to do,” Joe said. “When I started running people would say ‘you can do a mile’ and it became 13, 15, 20. It was small steps, but I was really committed.”
Joe’s conditioning reached a level that allowed him to enter the 2020 New York City Marathon, and he was fully prepared to take his place on race day – until it was called off by the pandemic.
“It was disappointing, but I wasn’t going to stop my routine,” he ventilated.
Joe ran his own marathon on what would have been Race Day 2020. He ran 26 miles (the length of a marathon) – sparking the interest and admiration of his family and friends. his community.
“It inspired everyone, even my customers,” said Scanni, owner of Clean Touch Car Wash in New Dorp.
“My family was so happy and impressed,” he added. “Next year we will. Let’s all do it.
Joseph and Hudson signed up for this year’s race to join their dad on race day. The trio previously ran the Michael Ollis 5K earlier this year, too.
“I’m super excited to be able to run alongside my brother and dad and continue the legacy of running the New York City Marathon like my grandparents did years ago,” said the youngster. Joseph. “It was impressive to watch my dad improve and hone his racing ability.”
“It was exciting to see how much effort my dad put into training. Seeing one of my role models being able to do something so difficult is inspiring to me,” Hudson added. “I can’t wait to be able to run the marathon and celebrate with him after the race.”
THE CAUSE OF MICHEL
The Scannis are running in the name of Michael’s Cause to raise money and awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Michael’s Cause is named after Michael Capolongo, a Tottenville HS student who was diagnosed in 2010 with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a fatal genetic disorder with no cure affecting 3,500 boys worldwide. Duchenne disease affects the heart and lungs and is therefore fatal by the time a young man reaches his early twenties
“Michael is a great boy, he has a giant smile and it makes me want to run even harder for him,” Joe said. “It will not be my last marathon. I think I will continue because I love it so much and can help such a good cause.
Anyone interested in donating to Michael’s cause can do so through Scanni’s fundraiser by clicking here.