SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Each November, approximately 50,000 people from all over the world lace up their running shoes and set out with a mission to complete the TCS New York City Marathon. This year’s event is planned for Sunday, Nov. 4 and among the thousands of participants will be South Plainfield’s own Peter Smith. 

Smith will put his feet to the pavement and take part in the 26.2-mile race for the very first time but, for the almost 59-year-old,it’s not about the time it takes to cross the finish line but rather honoring his late niece and nephew and raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

“I am no runner by any means, unless someone is chasing me, but it is for a great cause,” said Smith, who will be joined by his daughters, Tiffany and Marissa, his son, Ryan Yannetta, and his son-in-law Bobby Luludis. They will be running in honor of Smith’s late niece and nephew. 

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In August 2017, Smith’s sister Rosemary Kluxen lost her 29-year-old daughter Kathleen ‘Kit’ Kluxen to brain cancer and, just this past January, her 31-year-old son Robert ‘Robb’ Kluxen lost his battle to leukemia. 

“In just a few short months, my sister lost two of her children,” said Smith.“Kit and Robb both fought so gallantly to defeat this nasty disease and when I saw their determination I knew then I had to show mine. In their memory, I am are running to help save other kids' lives by fundraising for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.”

To prepare for his first marathon, Smith has been training daily, running four to six miles on a rotating two days on, one day off schedule. Smith took part in South Plainfield’s annual Labor Day 5K and, the following weekend, took to the streets of Paramus in the Racefaster Half Marathon and 5K. He plans to run in the Baker’s Revenge, a 20-mile trail race, this Saturday as well as the Main Street Half Marathon of Hunterdonon Oct. 7 and Halloween Half Marathonin Morristown on Oct. 21.

“I don't think prior to preparing for this race that I have ran a mile in the last 20 years let alone 26.2 in one day,” said Smith. “I'm running for kids who might be too sick to run today, but who could one day be running alongside me because the money raised helps find a cure for childhood cancer. No parent should lose their child to this disease.” 

Although this is his first marathon, going ‘all in’ for a cause he believes in is not something new for Smith. A member of South Plainfield Elks #2298 since 1988 and past president of the New Jersey State Elks Association, Smith has, over the past 10 years, participated in annual New Jersey Elks John Sentner Memorial Plunge to benefit the Elks’ Camp Moore and Children’s Specialized Hospital. 

For the marathon, Smith is seeking to raise at least $12,500 for St. Jude; to date, he has raised close to $11,000. 

“One-hundred percent of the monies raised will go to St. Jude,” said Smith. “Anyone who knows anything about St Jude knows it is an amazing place for kids and we are doing it in honor of Robb and Kit.” 

For more information or to help Smith reach his fundraising goal, email him at pds1919@yahoo.com or visit http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR?px=3786014&pg=personal&fr_id=90465

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