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Couple Finds Motivation for Marathon

Shannon Whipple shocked her husband one day in 2008 when "out of the blue" she announced she would run the New York City Marathon.

"She always works out but wasn't a runner," James Whipple said. "I didn't know if she'd be able to do it or not, but she trained eight month to a year. And it was definitely one of the most moving experiences I have ever been involved in."

The Norwalk woman accomplished her goal, and in the process, inspired her husband. The couple is running together Sunday in the ING New York City Marathon .

"I've always been an athletic person," he said. "I did body building as a teenager, went to the Junior Olympics and I said, 'I'm going to do it.' So I started training and now pretty much I love it. It's definitely going to be a lifestyle for me, definitely going to be something I'm going to continue to do."

Neither won a place in the marathon through the lottery established to winnow the large number of entrants. But they could still join the race by raising money for a charity approved of by the New York Road Runners , the club that organizes the marathon.

They chose the Hole in the Wall Camps and have raised $7,059 for the nonprofit residential summer camp and year-round center serving children and their families coping with cancer and other serious illnesses.

"I knew right away I wanted to do a charity that involved kids," James said. He's inspired by their stories. "It gives you extra motivation," he said. "The least I can do is finish the run if they can put up with that."

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