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April 6, 2006

Boys inspire runner to try marathon

From:, MA - Apr 6, 2006

Standard-Times correspondent

FAIRHAVEN — Phillip Pelletier plans to celebrate his 35th birthday with 20,000 of his closest friends as he runs the Boston Marathon on April 17.

Mr. Pelletier has been running for only two years; this will be his first marathon. He started his training on the treadmill and eventually hit the road running.

"I realized that if you can do three miles, you can do five, and if you can do five, you can do seven," said Mr. Pelletier, a registered nurse.

Mr. Pelletier will run the marathon to raise money for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, a cause that is close to his heart.

"Phil is a good family friend," said Lisa Wethington of Fairhaven. "My children call him their uncle."

Two of the Wethington children, Drew, 10, and Jack, 4, were born with sensorineural hearing loss. Both boys eventually received cochlear implants; a tiny device provides sound perception to patients with the help of an external receiver that looks like a hearing aid.

"A hearing aid makes the sound louder, but an implant bypasses the damaged part of the ear and sends the signal right to the auditory nerve," Mrs. Wethington said.

"It was very touching that Phil was going to run for a charity that does eye and ear research," she said.

"Mass. Eye and Ear is one of the premier hospitals in New England," Mr. Pelletier said. "It's a cause that is, to me, worthwhile."

Mr. Pelletier, a New Bedford resident, has run in a couple of local road races and half-marathons to prepare for the big race. His longest run is 16.5 miles.

Although he does not expect to break any records for speed, he is confident he will be able to finish the 26-mile run.

"They actually keep the race course open for six hours, so anything under that would be good," he said.

"I'm thinking around five hours. There will definitely be some walking involved."

Each runner is asked to raise a minimum of $2,500 for the charity run. Donations can be made at