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Going the Distance for Love

Talk about going the extra mile. The manager of a local Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar in Manahawkin is planning to run 100 miles this Saturday to raise money for kids with cancer. 43-year-old Rich McCleary is embarking on a one-man marathon to generate funds for Ocean of Love.Listen to a conversation with Rich McCleary

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Rich McCleary
Rich McCleary (Rich McCleary)

McCleary said 100 miles will be the longest distance he’s run in a marathon, noting the furthest he’s gone is about 60 miles in upstate New York.

“I’ll be starting at our Clifton Applebee’s location on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. and then I will run straight through and finish some time around noon on Sunday at the Manahawkin Applebee’s,” McCleary said.

However, he said he’ll be followed by a support team in a vehicle that will hand him fluids along the way. He’s even planning to make pit stops at local Applebee’s in Middletown, Ocean, Howell and Lacey.

But McCleary wasn’t always this athletic. He said he discovered his passion for running after losing over 100 pounds.

“I started off with a 5K and actually, I was 135 pounds heavier and had a lot of health problems and decided to turn my life around and do something about the weight; So I lost the weight and started running.”

McCleary said the restaurant he manages has supported Ocean of Love for 8 years, inspired by a local family.

“We had a family that was a regular in our restaurant by the name of Berg and their son Tyler was battling cancer. Unfortunately, he lost his battle and I think it just touched all of our hearts. You know, we’ve been doing stuff for Ocean of Love ever since.”

The Manahawkin Applebee’s will also be hosting a pancake breakfast fundraiser this Sunday, May 4th from 8 to 10 a.m. McCleary said you can donate at this event or you can contribute on line here.

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