NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There was a lot of carb-loading Saturday night for tens of thousands of runners getting ready to race in the annual New York City Marathon.

There will be 2.5 million spectators lining the roads to cheer on those runners, hoping they will make it to the finish line – but for many the journey to get there is just as special.

Allan Weitzman is a few hours away from his eleventh New York City Marathon. The fuel that keeps the 70-year-old going is his ailing wife.

“I’m not running, I’m running for Regina, that’s what we do,” Weitzman said.

Regina Weitzman has bravely battled Lupus for 22 years. Her spirit and courage inspired 11 of the couple’s nieces and nephews to join Allan in this year’s race.

Some have no running experience. One even flew in from Finland. They’ve raised $58,000 for the Lupus Research Alliance. Regina says their support is humbling.

“They have given me in the last seven months so much hope, in their tireless effort to raise money, to sacrifice their bodies,” Regina Weitzman told CBS2’s Christina Fan.

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The night before the big event, runners were carbo-loading in Central Park and everywhere you turned the marathon is full of stories of strength and perseverance.

Just a few years ago, Jesse Ruben was paralyzed by Lyme disease. Running, and even walking, was inconceivable.

“This time four to five years ago I was in bed or I was on the sidelines watching other people run wishing I could be out there,” Ruben said.

Spectators often only see the euphoria at the finish line.

“To go from not being able to walk across the room to finishing 26.2 miles it was really special and it is every year,” Ruben added.

The stories that propel these runners to reach for that line are just as powerful.

CBS2 met runners from all across the world Saturday. They will be coming from over 125 counties and all 50 states. All running for their own special reasons.

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