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Bronxville Reverend Runs the Distance

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Village Lutheran Church Rev. Dr. Robert Hartwell will lead some of his flock in a little different way this Sunday. After a prayer or two for good weather and healthy runners, Hartwell will lead a team of four in the New York City Marathon.

In addition to crossing the finish line, Hartwell said the goal of the team is to raise money for the Chapel School Scholarship Fund. "It's been challenging and difficult, but worth it as we try to make a difference for our beloved Chapel School students," Hartwell said.

Hartwell said the church, which oversees the Chapel School, contributes to the fund so that people having economic hardships will not have to take their kids out of the school. "These are tough times, and many people are struggling," Hartwell said. "But we don't want families to have to interrupt their children's education. This fund will help families keep their kids in the school here.

This is not the first time Hartwell has raised money for the school by using his health. Four years ago Hartwell, who is 44, was 120 pounds heavier than he is today. "I struggled to walk two miles," he said. One of the parishioners told Hartwell that he would donate $5000 for every pound he lost.

"It was a life changing experience for me," said Hartwell, who lost 80 pounds and got a check for $400,000. "I had been heavy since high school."

After he lost the weight, Hartwell told the church's treasurer Ralph Schoene that he would like to start running. Schoene is an experienced runner who has run the New York marathon several times among other races.

"He is definitely my mentor," said Hartwell. "And on Sunday, we will run our first marathon together." Chapel school teacher Kim Johnson, who is also a Chapel church trustee and member is part of the team  Chapel School parent Linda Bennett and Concordia College student and athlete David Mero round out the team.

The team has four major sponsors and several benefactors and has raised about $30,000 so far. They hope to raise another $20,000 for the private Christian day school. For more information on Team Chapel, contact the Chapel School at 914-337-3202 or on-line at http://www.crowdrise.com/TEAMCHAPELNYC!

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