Miss you, grandma: DC man’s run to Pennsylvania is about more than family

Corey Cappelloni runs through Peru’s Ica Desert in 2019. (Courtesy Corey Cappelloni)

Like many people right now, Corey Cappelloni misses his grandmother, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, he can’t really go visit her to say hello.

Cappelloni lives in Northwest D.C. and his grandmother lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania, so it’s hard to make a routine trip.

But, during the months that senior care facilities have more or less been locked down to visitors, he has tried to keep her spirits up, calling her lots, and sending her treats and scrapbooks.

And now, he’s about to begin a run to see her — by literally running from D.C. to Scranton.

“It was basically three motivating factors,” Cappelloni said. “One, the big one, started off with my grandmother. Then, also linked to that, was all the other residents. Two was the heroic staff who support my grandmother and other residents in these types of facilities.”

A young Corey Cappelloni with his nana, Ruth. (Courtesy Corey Cappelloni)

His third reason for running is to honor those who didn’t survive COVID-19, including his great uncle, who died last month.

Truth be told, Cappelloni wanted to run all 220 miles over the next week.

“When we started planning the route on Google Maps, there really isn’t a safe way to run,” Cappelloni said. “Sooner or later … we were going to encounter roads with no shoulders, no sidewalks and with speed limits of 50 mph.”

Cappelloni is still going to run the 220 miles over the next week, but he’s going to do it in parks and along trails that run from D.C. to Scranton.

So, for instance, on Friday, he’ll begin running through Rock Creek Park into D.C. and Maryland, aiming to finish 31 miles. On Saturday, he’ll run along a trail that spans from Maryland into Pennsylvania. Gradually, he’ll move up along the Interstate 81 corridor, making it to Bloomsburg for day six before running from Wilkes-Barre to Scranton on his last day.

He’s heading into this having raised several thousand dollars for the facility his grandmother lives in.

But even if donating to that facility, or another one, he’s hoping it’ll at least spur others to act.

“If you have someone who is in one of these nursing homes or assisted-living home, or simply an elderly person living on their own,” said Cappelloni, “reach out to them. Talk to them just to get an awareness of how lonely some of these people are.”

But Cappelloni also said you don’t just have to have a relative in one of those facilities either.

“Reach out to an assisted-living home or nursing home in your community to see what you could do,” he said. “Could you write a letter one day to a resident?”


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