Rock & Roll Marathon is music to runner's ears and hearts - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Rock & Roll Marathon is music to runner's ears and hearts

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Runner in Rock and Roll Marathon Runner in Rock and Roll Marathon
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

The Rock and Roll Marathon will finally come to the Rock and Roll City. 

There will be bands every half mile and a huge party at the end, but that's not the reason Kathy-Ann Zarrella flew in from Denver to run the half marathon.  In fact, she secretly hates to run.

"I don't necessarily love the running, but I love how I feel after," describes Zarrella.

Zarrella is one of seven thousand who will be running in the marathon that's picked up its own momentum in popularity.  Cities all around the world are now hosting Rock and Roll Marathons.  

Zarrella's doing this one for a cause that's very close to her heart.  She raised money from people all over the United States in her niece's name for the Upside of Downs, an organization that helps children and adults with Down Syndrome.

"She's just so beautiful. She's so special. She has the most happy personality," says Zarrella.

Gianna Zarrella is the daughter of 19 Action News Sports Director, Tony Zarrella and 19 Action News Reporter, Denise Zarrella.  

Four year old Gianna has Down Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that affects 1 in every 691 births.  When Kathy-Ann completes the Rock and Roll Marathon, she will have raised over a thousand dollars to benefit children and adults like Gianna.

"I want people to be more educated that they are people just like us. I just don't want people to think that they are disabled. They can do things just like us, but at a different pace," adds Zarrella.

Powering through the pain of running 13.5 miles will be tough, but Kathy-Ann says all she'll have to do is look at her tee shirt for a little extra inspiration to keep going.  The shirt features one of her favorite pictures of a smiling Gianna. 

"She's a gift. She's a gift."

The race starts at 8 a.m. on Sunday, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and ends at West Superior and West 3rd. 

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