Wendy Frazier, a Port Jefferson Station resident and teacher who recently completed the New York City Marathon, is no stranger to going the distance, especially when it comes to running for her three special needs children.
Frazier has been running since she was 14 years old. She said she started doing it just for herself and it wasn’t until she was 31 years old that she entered her first 5K.
"I came in third place for my age group and was instantly hooked," she said.
Since then she’s run local races like the Comsewogue Warrior 5K and the St. Charles Run for Rehab. Frazier ran her last qualifying race before her first New York City Marathon in 2003 while five months pregnant.
Well, she didn’t exactly run.
"I had to walk and was followed by an ambulance," she said.
Her time in her first New York City Marathon was 4 hours and 39 minutes. This year's marathon, her second, was "perfect," according to Frazier.
"The weather was great and I knocked almost a full hour off of my first marathon time," she said. "I ran a 3:48:43."
While she felt great running the race there was something else that inspired her to make it to the finish line. Frazier runs to raise money for Nassau Suffolk Autism Society of America (NSASA) because three of her four children have special needs.
Frazier says that NSASA provides "social opportunities and experiences for children with autism in our local area."
"It’s a fantastic way for autistic kids to experience things like movies, bowling, roller skating, museums, and plays in a nonjudgmental atmosphere," she said. "It's so nice to see these kids with smiles on their faces."
If that wasn’t enough to push her on, there’s also Jeff, her husband, whom she calls "her rock."
"It was the thought of seeing my husband's face at the finish line that really pushed me past the final two tough uphill miles in Central Park," she said. "He helps me through the really tough days because we know that together we can make it."
She says that running helps her be a more patient and understanding mom to her family because it gives her time to herself.
"I let all the stresses of the day go and get some much needed 'me' time in," said Frazier.
And if she’s not to the point of exhaustion after a run then it’s not enough of a work out.
"I love to push myself and do something that I know takes a tremendous amount of grit and determination," she said.
Correction: This article originally stated that Frazier ran her first New York City Marathon while pregnant. That was incorrect.