The legacy of a beloved father and grandfather — also an FDNY firefighter killed on Sept. 11, 2001, who had completed four New York City Marathons by the time he died — will serve as inspiration and motivation for two Deer Park sisters and their uncle in the Sunday trek through the five boroughs.
“I just get emotional thinking about it,’’ said Gina Tortorici, 25, a teacher at W.F. Mount Elementary School in Stony Brook, of running the New York City Marathon like her grandfather, Raymond Downey, did so many times.
Tortorici said she and her sister Nicolette Tortorici, 23, have trained for the race since July on the same Deer Park streets as their grandfather when he prepared for the grueling race.
“We are following in his very footsteps,’’ she said.
Their uncle did the same when he chose his career. Joseph Downey, an FDNY battalion chief who heads up the special operations unit on Roosevelt Island, said when the expected tough stretches come during the 26.2 mile race, he’ll think of his dad.
“My father always tried to make a negative into a positive,’’ he said.
Even though they were little girls when their grandfather died, his presence is always felt.
“I remember my grandfather vividly,” Nicolette Tortorici said. “He was hardworking and anytime there was a national disaster, he was one of the first responders.”