Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) After running 26.21 miles, Rob McLaughlin is in need of some serious relaxation.
For the past year, the husband and father of three had been training hard and working hard to run in the New York City Marathon.
"Throughout the year, I had been raising money, fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society," he said.
McLaughlin raised more than $4,000 to run on behalf of the society.
But then, Superstorm Sandy struck, and his year-long-dream was suddenly out of his reach.
"I understand why it had to be canceled , but I was disappointed, and I still wanted to run my marathon," he said.
And so he did, on his home turf instead, in what he has nicknamed the five boroughs of the Greater Binghamton Area.
On Sunday, McLaughlin ran from Vestal to Endicott, Endwell to Johnson City and through Binghamton. The spirit of loved ones with ties to cancer ran with him.
"I had 33 names in my shoe that I had laminated with me and brought with me for the whole 26.2 miles."
He said he made a promise to run for them and wanted to fulfill that promise. But finishing was a personal victory too.
"Back in 2007, I was diagnosed with encephalopathy and I unfortunately had damage to my spinal cord," said McLaughlin. "I am left with some effects today, you know, with numbness in the bottom of my feet and backs of my legs."
Although McLaughlin had been an athlete his entire life, this diagnosis set his training back. But it didn't diminish his spirit. He started his training from scratch, running and walking laps at the Vestal High School track.
"I have a lot of friends and family around me that supported me through this whole thing and I am just shocked today, at how much support and love people have showed me for what I've done and I guess I am just humbled by it."
Support that he said helped him keep running, even through the challenges.