Olympic runners world record attempt to benefit Natl Down Syndrome Soc.

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX – When professional runner Andrew Lemoncello and his wife, Julie, welcomed their first child, Isla, in June, they were stunned to learn that she has Down Syndrome.

“It kind of took us by shock,” Lemoncello, who lives in Flagstaff, told 3TV’s Kaley O’Kelley.

They immediately turned to learning everything they could about Down Syndrome, and the more information they got, they more comfortable they became with what the future holds for their baby girl.
“The more learned about it, we realized this doesn’t have to be any kind of disability for her,” Lemoncello said. “She can do everything that anyone else does. The more information we got from the charities and the doctors, the better it made us feel.”

"We're having such a wonderful time raising her and helping her work on her strength and coordination everyday [sic]," he wrote on RunnerLife.co.uk. "She's a very happy baby and I wish she knew how much she inspires us."

The Lemoncellos also learned that there is all kinds of support available for families who have children with Down Syndrome.

“We realized there’s a whole community out there that we’re now a part of,” he continued.

And it’s for that community that Lemoncello is trying to set a world record.

On Saturday, Oct. 19, Lemoncello with be at Chandler Fashion Center with two goals in mind.

     1. Smash the treadmill half-marathon world record
     2. Raise money for the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)

Not necessarily in that order.

The current treadmill half-marathon world record is 70 minutes. Lemoncello has done it in 63 minutes, so setting a new record should be relatively easy for the Olympic runner, especially with a crowd there to cheer him on.

“The bigger the crowd, the bigger the cheering, the faster he’s gonna go,” Julie said with a smile, little Isla, now 4 months old, happy in her arms. “It’s gonna be great.”

Cheering is fabulous, but it’s the fundraising part proud daddy Lemoncello really needs help with. His goal is $25,000, and he's almost there.

If you can't make it to the event, you can still make a contribution online at ndssyourway.kintera.org. Donations are tax deductible.

Every donation of $5 will be entered to win raffle prizes, including a year of free online coaching from mcmillanrunning.com (worth $1,500) as well as 3x24 week custom training programs (worth $175.99 each). The more you donate, the more raffle entries you get.

The National Down Syndrome Society has been the national advocate for people with Down Syndrome since 1979.

One in every 691 babies in the U.S. is born with Down Syndrome, which means they have a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. It’s the most common chromosomal condition. More than 400,000 people in the U.S. live with Down Syndrome – and they live full, active lives.

In addition to raising money for NDSS, Lemoncello also wants to raise awareness about Down Syndrome and help dispel some of the myths and misconceptions associated with it. He hopes Isla's story and his world-record attempt will do that. That's why he chose October, Down Syndrome Awareness Month, to go for the world record.

Lemoncello’s event starts at 3 p.m. Chandler Fashion Center is located at 3111 W. Chandler Boulevard.