(by Kristen Keller, Felician University Sports Information Student Assistant)
Running a marathon is not an easy accomplishment. The many hours of training needed in order to complete a 26.2-mile course are vigorous and exhausting. In the eyes of Rob DeCarlo Jr., it has all been worthwhile in order to remember a great friend.
DeCarlo, who lives in Saddle Brook, is beginning his second year as the head coach of women's and men's cross-country and women's track & field at Felician University. Last October, he completed the Hambletonian Marathon in Goshen, N.Y, in three hours, six minutes, a time that qualified him for the 2017 Boston Marathon.
DeCarlo has decided to run Boston 2017 in honor of his longtime friend, Eddie Halperin, who died in 2003 from pancreatic cancer.
Although DeCarlo and Halperin always had a good friendship in their youth, it grew once they reached high school. They shared many classes at Park Ridge High, and were also in a band together. On top of that, they were teammates on the track & field team, where they enjoyed a mutual love for running.
Since Halperin's death, many of his friends and acquaintances had come up with ways to celebrate his memory. But DeCarlo had yet to do so.
"I had been trying to figure out the best way to honor him, and other people had found their ways while I was still looking for mine," DeCarlo said. "Running ended up being the best way to show that I missed him and appreciate him."
According to DeCarlo, Halperin was a prime example of what everyone strived to be. Everyone knew that he was "different." He was very smart, talented, and an overall good guy.
DeCarlo was a sprinter as a high-school competitor. As he works with his own coach, Marc Pelerin, to conquer the ultimate distance event, DeCarlo hopes that the athletes he coaches will take a lesson from his and Halperin's example.
"I hate marathons; it is actually my least favorite type of distance," DeCarlo said. "I think this is the best way for me to show that my running for three hours is nothing compared to everything Eddie went through and suffered through."
DeCarlo has set up a GoFundMe page in memory of Halperin. All of the funds will in turn be donated to fight pancreatic cancer. To donate, and to learn more about DeCarlo and Halperin, visit https://www.gofundme.com/boston2017forekh.
To suggest a charity or organization that will use all of the donated proceeds for either pancreatic cancer research or to support people who have pancreatic cancer, contact DeCarlo via electronic mail at CoachDeCarlo@gmail.com.