Scranton native plans 220-mile run

Scranton native plans 220-mile run


By Joe Soprano

Corey Cappelloni thought he was done with ultramarathons.

After completing the third leg of the Marathon des Sables — which took him through three deserts, including the Sahara — the 45-year-old Scranton native had decided he had enough of the long-distance endurance tests.

And it certainly appeared that way even after his girlfriend, Susan Kamenar, talked him into one more race in Arizona this past March. That’s because just a few days before he was to leave to compete in that event, the COVID-19 pandemic basically shut down most of the country.

But it turns out, Cappelloni has at least one more endurance test left in him.

He will run seven ultramarathons in seven days, covering the 220 miles from his home in Washington, D.C., to Allied Skilled Nursing & Rehab Center in Scranton — all to visit his grandmother, Ruth, a resident at the facility.

The effort came about because of Cappelloni’s concern for his grandmother being isolated due to the pandemic.

“The more I called her, the more concerned I became about her because she sounded more and more depressed,” he said of his 98-year-old grandmother. “I knew I had to do something to get her spirits up.”

So Cappelloni began to send Ruth presents each week.

“It really perked her up and uplifted her spirits,” he said. “She had hope now, looking forward to what was coming every week.”

Then Kamenar suggested, why not take a run — literally — up to Scranton to see his “Nana?”

“I thought it was a good idea,” Cappelloni said. “But in my mind it was just some sort of fantasy. Then we set up a teleconference with Allied, and they were right with it from the beginning.

“They were so supportive.”

So on June 12 Cappelloni will set out for Scranton.

“The most I’ve gone in a week is 156 miles,” Cappelloni said. “It’s going to be a challenge.

“But I’m just going to focus on one day at a time and not think about the whole race.”

Cappelloni may be running farther than he did when he transversed the Sahara, but he has one advantage over that race. In the run through the Sahara, he had to carry all his own supplies himself.

As he goes from Washington to Scranton, Kamenar will follow in a recreational vehicle with any supplies he might need.

“She’s the one that came up with the idea (for the run),” Cappelloni said of his girlfriend. “And she’s the one that’s been my motivating factor.”

Cappelloni is using his run as a fundraiser for Allied Services and as a way to draw attention to the front-line workers at facilities such as Allied.

“This endurance challenge is a way for me to show Nana that I am there for her, to raise awareness for all the residents in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and rehabilitation centers across the country and the world,” Cappelloni said. “The run is also to honor the victims of coronavirus, including my great-uncle Charles ‘Chuck’ Gloman who passed away on May 11, and to deeply thank all the heroic staff at Allied Services and similar organizations for putting the care of others first.”

As far as the fundraising, Cappelloni hopes to raise $22,000 — $100 for each mile of the trek. He said that, thanks to donations and generous sponsors, he is halfway to that goal. His sponsors include McCarthy Tire Service, FNCB Bank, UNICO National Scranton and Wilkes-Barre Chapters, Lackawanna Mobile X-Ray, WAA, M&T Bank and Topp Copy. To donate, go to

Cappelloni is an accomplished humanitarian and ultrarunner as well as a father and grandson. He was the first American to complete the Marathon des Sables ultramarathon trilogy.

He grew up around the corner from his grandparents near Lake Scranton.

An alumnus of Scranton High School, Bloomsburg University, University of Colorado Law School and Harvard University, Corey served in the Peace Corps in Moldova, worked as an attorney for the World Food Program in Italy, and served in various positions at the intersection of refugee law and policy.

To Donate go to