Man running Chicago Marathon to honor wife who died from ALS

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This Sunday thousands of people will pound the pavement and line the streets for the Chicago Marathon.

One runner taking on the 26. 2 mile course already has 46 marathons under his belt but this Sunday's race will mean the most.He is running in honor of his wife in what would have been her first Chicago Marathon.

"You know when you're standing in a doctor's office and the doctor says you have ALS. It's a fatal disease, there no cure nor is there a really known treatment plan and life expectancy is 2-5 years after diagnosis. I'm sorry," said Chris Benyo.

Benyo's wife Denise was diagnosed with ALS just 6 months after they got married. They both shared a passion for running and set out to concur as many races as possible but that quickly changed.

"Once we got the diagnosis the only running we did was in her first racing chair. I started pushing her in that so she could get the feel of it and she loved it. I think she really felt like she was alive again when she was being pushed in a chair and the crowds are yelling," Benyo said.

Chris pushed Denise in a total of eight marathons. This Sunday's race was supposed to be Denise's first Chicago Marathon but she sadly passed over the summer.

"I'm pushing the race chair in the Chicago Marathon with a picture of Denise and a couple of medals from the marathons that we've done," he said.

Chris says its Denise's spirit and positivity that will get him across the finish line.

"There's two ways you can live your life as if nothing is a miracle or as if everything is a miracle and I think that Denise was able to live the way she did because everything was a miracle. If I could be half the person she was, it would be a success. It would be a successful life. But I miss her, I miss her terribly. I know she'll be with us on marathon day and she'll see to it that I get through safely and whatever happens then, happened then I guess," he said.

Chris is running as a part of MDA Team Momentum and says he's grateful for all the support he's received from the organization. null
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