Dennis Finnegan Jr. of West Islip expects to "run a bit faster and taller" at Sunday's New York City Marathon, hopefully beating his best time, notched in 2007, of 4 hours, 43 minutes.

This time, he's running for his mom.

"I've been working out a little harder and I'll be more motivated, which will get me through the pain," said Finnegan, whose mother, Susan Petrowski, 68, has Alzheimer's disease.

Finnegan, a 40-year-old video editor, is one of 135 runners representing the New York City chapter of the Alzheimer's Association in the 26.2-mile race, which snakes through the five boroughs. Last year, more than 50,000 runners crossed the finish line in Central Park.

Finnegan said the nonprofit group has been a lifeline for him and his family, who care for Petrowski, a former longtime secretary with the Suffolk County Police Department.

"This is a small way to give back to someone who has given so much," said Finnegan, who raised $4,000 in pledges on behalf of his mom.

He praised the local chapter for educating him about the disease and its treatments, and providing support services.

"It's an awareness, and it has taught me that it's a disease that they [patients] can't fight for themselves, so it is up to family and friends to be their voice," he said.

Tyler Logigian, 23, of Smithtown, a Manhattan business consultant, is also running for his mother -- Marilyn Marlek, 61, whom he admired as a youngster for successfully battling breast cancer with "a smile on her face."

When he was in college, his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at 58. The former corporate lawyer now is being cared for in her Northport home.

In advance of the marathon, Logigian raised more than $4,000. "How lucky are we to be living on Long Island, where my mom was raised and where her friends have rallied around her," he said.

Kirsten Spillane, 38, of Massapequa, raised more than $15,000 in the name of her mother, Carol Gallahue, who died at 53 after developing early-onset dementia. Spillane found relief by joining the chapter's running team -- Team Athletes to End Alzheimer's -- which raised $516,000 last year.

"I found other people who had similar stories," she said.

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

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Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

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