BETHEL -- You could call him the "marathon man."
A father of two young boys from Bethel is taking his message to the streets. On New Year's Eve, Chris Longo and his wife, Lynne, received the tragic news that their baby had no heartbeat. Lynne was 22 weeks pregnant at the time.
The death of their unborn child, who they named Angelina, has inspired Chris to run 22 marathons -- one for each week his baby was in utero.
"It's only been a month, but grieving doesn't really have a timeline," Longo said. "I figured, let's jump right in and get to work."
Longo, who is the interim assistant principal at Schaghticoke Middle School in New Milford, already has one marathon to his credit, but there are 21 to go.
"I just really thought this was the way to go and build strength in myself and reflect on what is happening."
If you do the math, Longo will run 576.4 marathon miles, not counting the thousands of miles he will need to log for training.
"I'm really hoping this can be a way to inspire others in how to get through a difficult time," said Longo, 38, who was a track star at Holy Cross High in Waterbury and went on to compete at Iona College.
Longo will next run on Valentine's Day in the Albany Marathon, and then heads to Washington D.C. in March for the Rock and Roll Marathon.
"My mission is to honor my daughter," he added. "We need to build some kind of awareness for stillborn research."
The family has also started a scholarship fund to benefit students in the area, which you can find and contribute to by clicking here.
In his first blog post, Longo wrote of his plans, "I build resilience through running. In reflecting on our family’s misfortune, strength will come from it. During my marathon training in 2016, Angelina’s footprints will be hanging from my laces, with me every step I take. As a life goal, I intend to run 22 marathons to represent the 22 weeks of joy that our family experienced before saying goodbye to our baby girl."