Shelton resident James Yevich can be seen running on Bridgeport Avenue most mornings, but Yevich is no casual runner. He is what’s called an “ultra-marathoner” and he was also born deaf.
This Friday, the 42-year-old will be running 100 miles, starting in Stratford and finishing at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford. He is running in honor of his two late friends, James and Kevin Bumbala. James died last February after fighting liver cancer for six years and Kevin Bumbala died in a car accident in June 2011. The brothers both graduated from the American School for the Deaf. He will be raising money for the American Cancer Society DetermiNation and Bumbalastrong.
“It’s important to honor these two people in my life,” Yevich said through an interpreter.
Yevich lives in Shelton with his wife, Roberta, a step-daughter, and a son and daughter. They are all deaf.
“I’m doing this from my heart, and it’s one of my dreams to show I can do it, that I’m fearless,” Yevich said of 100-mile run in 24 hours.
His family will be up in West Hartford on Saturday to meet him at the finish line.
He will have a team, including an interpreter, nearby on his route. He plans to take breaks, if needed, along the way.
In April 2011 he successfully ran 40 miles; it was his second try.
“I did train through injuries and illness for three months before running 40 miles,” Yevich said. “I want to thank my team for support; I wouldn’t make it if my team were not there.”
Yevich said being deaf doesn’t hold him back in running, though he is careful to run on the left side of the road so he can clearly see traffic
“I think even people who can hear have to be careful, since a lot of people have earplugs in listening to music,” he said of running on a busy road.
Yevich, who was born deaf, has always been an athlete, playing football and baseball with his hearing friends when he was young.
One day he saw the New York City marathon on television and it became his dream. He joined cross country in high school and has since run in many races, including marathons.
After his 100-mile run he will go to Washington, D.C., for the 37th Marine Corps Marathon. It will be his fourth Marine Corps Marathon. He may run the Boston Marathon in 2013.
He starts his run around 11:30 in Stratford’s Paradise Green and will be passing through Shelton about an hour later, on Bridgeport Avenue.
“The most important thing is patience and persistence,” Yevich said. “It takes a lot of practice and training.