MAHOPAC, N.Y. – The New York City Marathon is turning 50 this year. So are Mahopac High School teachers Michael Hunt and Kevin Kerr.

What better way to mark the occasion?

In January, the teachers applied to run in the 26.2-mile race but were not selected. Rather than accept defeat, Hunt and Kerr looked for another way in.

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They found it in the form of two different charities.

Hunt applied to run as a member of Fred’s Team and Kerr as a member of the Breathe Team.

“Each of us selected a team that was personal and important in our lives,” Hunt said.

Fred’s Team is connected to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan and focuses on raising money to support research in the cure for the various forms of cancer.

“This hospital has a very special meaning to me as it is where my father spent the last several months of his life fighting off this terrible disease,” Hunt said. “Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital was so very supportive of my family every step of the way in my father’s illness and I am hoping that through my fundraising efforts that I can give back a little support to the place that gave my family so much.”

The Breathe Team, which supports the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, was also a personal choice for Kerr. He has two nephews who have the disease.

“He has watched these two boys persevere if the face of pain and difficulty and wanted to bring this cause just a bit closer towards finding a cure,” Hunt said.

After making it onto their respective race teams, it was time to train.

“Throughout the summer we’ve trained really hard so that we could be prepared to run the 26.2 miles around New York City,” Hunt said.

With the race just days away (Sunday, Nov. 1), Hunt and Kerr are making a final push to raise money and awareness for their charities. The teachers conducted a 50/50 raffle at the varsity football team’s homecoming game on Oct. 11.

Additional funds can be donated online:

• Fred’s Team is bit.ly/fredsteamhunt

• Breathe Team is bit.ly/breatheteamkerr