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Governor candidate’s wife to run in Centerville 5K

Shannon FitzGerald is running in races around the state as part of campaign.

Democrat Ed FitzGerald’s wife will start running on the campaign trail — literally. Shannon FitzGerald will run 5K races across Ohio as part of her husband’s political campaign, beginning with a charity race in Centerville on Sunday.

The FitzGerald campaign rolled out the idea in an email blast last week and quickly received more than 30 invitations for her to run in 5 kilometer competitions across the state.

“The idea behind it is to raise awareness for whatever cause the community is running for and also to get Ed’s message out,” said FitzGerald.

Her husband, Ed FitzGerald, is the Cuyahoga County executive and likely Democratic party nominee to challenge incumbent Republican John Kasich for the governor’s office in November. FitzGerald has a Democratic primary challenge from Dayton resident Larry Ealy on May 6.

Ohio First Lady Karen Kasich, who has also advocated for children’s fitness and women’s heart disease prevention, has completed three marathons, including the 2010 Air Force Marathon in 4 hours, 10 minutes and 10 seconds.

Although Ed FitzGerald has been campaigning for governor for more than a year, Shannon FitzGerald has been largely on the political sidelines. Running the community 5K races is her debut into the world of statewide campaigning and media interviews.

First in FitzGerald’s racing circuit will be the 7th Annual Panerathon for the Children’s Hunger Alliance, which starts at 9:05 a.m. Sunday at Centerville High School. Her daughters, Colleen and Bridget, are scheduled to run with her.

FitzGerald is a registered dietitian who works at a suburban Cleveland hospital and at Lorain County Public School District. So, bringing added attention to children’s hunger is a natural fit for her, she said.

With two jobs, four kids in middle school through college, and a husband in a high-profile job and campaign, FitzGerald, 45, has a packed schedule. “It sounds overwhelming but it’s not that far off from what other families manage on a day to day basis,” she said.

FitzGerald said she is an advocate for health and fitness and she makes a point of running, spinning or rowing regularly. FitzGerald, who hasn’t competed in half or full marathons, said she is happy if she runs a 5K race in under 25 minutes.

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