BRONXVILLE, N.Y. - A Bronxville marathon runner "answered the call" at the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, raising more than $3,500 in support of the families of fallen first responders.
As a member of team "Answer the Call - the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund" Bronxville resident David Kilsheimer raised a total of $3,672 from sponsors at the marathon, which he finished with a time of 3:59:48, narrowly crossing the finish line before his four hour goal.
Kilsheimer's race kicked off with a "sobering" dose of reality, as the family of a fallen first responder sounded the starting cannon.
"Beginning the race by having the family of a fallen police officer sound the starting cannon was both sobering and inspiring. I was running for them and they were there to set me on my journey," he said. "I ran the race I'd planned and trained for, aiming to come in under four hours and barely squeaking in. My splits were nice and even, though grew as I passed the 23rd mile, where I began to struggle with some leg cramps but fought through."
Civil service is nothing new to Kilsheimer, whose grandfather - and former Bronxville resident - Michael Lombardi was a member of the FDNY and his brother serves as a police officer in Yonkers.
“Answer the Call was truly the only option I considered when choosing a charity to run for this year, because I strongly believe in their mission and empathize with those they serve, as we have a few first responders in our family,” he said. “I was lucky enough to have my grandfather be a part of my life growing up, but not all kids are so fortunate to have their heroes come home from the dangerous job of safeguarding our communities.”
Kilsheimer said that running the New York City Marathon was a "dream come true," after finally being selected in the lottery after entering for several years.
"It was incredible to see the city like that and feed off the crowd of supporters. I was (giving high fives) to spectators throughout the race, and their positive energy buoyed my spirits when I was beginning to falter," he added. "Finally reaching the park and hearing the cheers of the spectators was everything I'd imagined and dreamed of; giving me the extra energy to stride across the line just under my goal."
With his first New York City Marathon complete, Kilsheimer said that he hopes to inspire others to get fit and to raise awareness of the importance and good work his charity does.
“On a personal level, I hope that people see that running a marathon is not an impossible ream and the benefits of training are so valuable to staying fit and healthy,” he said. “More importantly, I would hope that people recognize the great work that the Benefit Fund does in supporting families of first responders and choose to get involved as we did.”