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Running the NYC Marathon for Grandson with Autism

At 60 years old, Tony Lorenzo broke his back in a car accident. Two years later he is all set to run the grueling 26-mile ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 3 as part of Team Up with Autism Speaks.

Donate to Tony's run here.

When did you begin running? 10 years ago at age 52.

Was there a reason you decided to become a runner?  I never thought running was something I wanted to do. I was a bit of a gym rat until a friend convinced me to run. The first time I started running it was only a quarter mile and I was gasping. Then in the first 18 months I did 3 marathons! I have a good running partner, Paula Lychhock, a dear friend.

What made you decide to run the New York City Marathon? This is not my first one, I did it in 2006. I trained for the 2010 marathon but woke up that morning with a 103 degree fever and couldn’t do it so I never got to run it that year. This will be my 2nd one.

Who/what is your inspiration for running? My grandson. His name is Lorenzo Figueroa and he is 3. He was diagnosed with autism 13 months ago. He’s learning and doing well. Therapy is starting to take hold. He already weighs 62 pounds and looks like a sumo wrestler. His favorite thing is to be in the pool and swim.

What has been your most successful fundraising method? I bought sheets at Staples to make business cards with Lorenzo’s picture and tell his story. I put the web address on the card and I handed them out to people. It led people to the website. The response I got later on was amazing. It’s been lots of little donations from many people. For people who didn’t want to go online I made donation sheets and handed them out with a pre-stamped envelope so they could just write out a check and mail it to me.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.