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100 miles, 1 cause for LI runner

Thomas Glenn competes in the 2010 Long Island

Thomas Glenn competes in the 2010 Long Island Half Marathon. Glenn, 34, will be running 100 miles from Wantagh to Montauk to raise money for the John Theissen Children's Foundation on June 4, 2011. Photo Credit: Handout, 2010

A two-time Ironman triathlete from Levittown is getting ready for another big challenge: a 100-mile run from Wantagh to Montauk that he hopes will raise $10,000 for a Long Island children’s charity.

Thomas Glenn, 34, a physical education teacher at Dutch Lane Elementary School in Hicksville, is planning the June 4 run to benefit the John Theissen Children’s Foundation, which provides gifts, supplies and clothing to underprivileged Long Island children.

The 18-year-old cash-strapped foundation was recently at risk of closing its doors before Lazard Capital Markets, a Manhattan-based investment firm, donated $150,000 to keep it going.

Glenn, who has been friends for several years with the foundation’s founder and fellow runner, John Theissen, plans to make the trip from the organization’s headquarters in Wantagh to the Montauk Point Lighthouse in 24 hours. He will stop for an hourlong dinner break at the halfway point, in Westhampton.

“Doing the stuff that I do, I always had this feeling that it’s better to do it suffering for other people than just for myself,” Glenn said. “There are people out there feeling a lot worse than I am, doing a lot worse than I do, and if we can make some money for them it’s worthwhile.”

The money Glenn hopes to raise -- he’s already raised $1,000 -- would benefit the foundation’s back-to-school program, which provides children with new clothes and school supplies.

Glenn completed the grueling 140-mile Ironman USA Lake Placid Triathlon in 2008 and 2010. He has been training since last October for the run to the lighthouse.

Glenn will be following in Theissen’s footsteps. In 1999, Theissen ran a similar trip -- 103 miles -- from Wantagh to Montauk for the same cause.

“It was probably at the end of the last Ironman I thought, ‘He [Theissen] does so much for the kids on Long Island,’” Glenn said. “I see the emotions he deals with on a daily basis with the kids.”

The nonprofit’s back-to-school program takes up 25 percent of the foundation’s annual budget and usually helps 400 students. Glenn’s run could provide for an additional 100 students.

Glenn will start at 11 a.m. June 4 on Sunrise Highway and move to Montauk Highway once he reaches Sayville. Theissen will follow him in a van filled with provisions. Supporters are invited to a 9:30 a.m. kick-off party at the center where complimentary juice, coffee and bagels will be served.

For more information or to make a pledge, go to www.jtcf.org.

Above, Thomas Glenn competes in the 2010 Long Island Half Marathon.

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