AUSTIN (KXAN) — Any runner will tell you a marathon doesn’t truly start until the final 6.2 miles. The runner’s wall hits back and hits hard after mile 19.

“It’s hallowed ground,” Leander’s Tim Revell said about the closing stretch of a race.

Revell will be running his 16th Ascension Seton Austin Marathon Sunday morning. The father of two boys always looks to his family to provide the spark and rally in the closing stretch of the race.

After all, his family is his inspiration for running.

Timothy Revell, 17, and Andrew Revell, 14, have Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Duchenne is a progressive disease that affects children and causes the muscles of the body to deteriorate. Ultimately, Duchenne confines those affected to a wheelchair.

“It’s like death by a thousand paper cuts,” Revell said.

The disease has no cure and is fatal.

Revell’s oldest son, Timothy, was diagnosed when he was 2-years-old. Revell says when they received the diagnosis, the doctor said that they should just go enjoy their life and there wasn’t anything that could be done to stop the awful disease.

That’s when Tim and his wife, Laura, said they weren’t going to take no for an answer.

Revell began running the Austin Marathon as a fundraiser for Duchenne research.

“It’s my dedication to them to try to extend their life and give them quality of life,” Revell said.

In the first year, Revell said they raised $15,000 for CureDuchenne, which is “the global leader in research, patient care and innovation for improving and extending the lives of those with Duchenne,” according to the national nonprofit’s website.

From there, the Revell family realized this was their platform and their “opportunity to raise awareness.”

Sixteen years and counting, Revell has run the Austin Marathon to fundraise for CureDuchenne. Five years ago, Texas-based charity The Moody Foundation got involved, announcing a $10,000 match for any local Austin Marathon fundraisers that raised $10,000 independently.

Every year over the last five years, Revell and his family have raised at least $10,000 to earn The Moody Foundation’s match.

Revell has a GoFundMe page for this year’s race.

Now, Revell says the family holds four different local fundraisers and generates over $500,000 a year for research. In total, they’ve raised over $4 million dollars, which equates to approximately four clinical trials for Duchenne.

Revell says the goal is to have a curative therapy to give these children a normal course of life. In order to get to that goal, it takes running a marathon and finding people who want to make a difference.

“It keeps the story of hope alive. One more day that our boys are alive is one more day that we can find the answer and the cure,” Revell said.

2021 Ascension Seton Austin Half Marathon

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Revell wasn’t even sure if this year’s race was going to happen, but he’s been planning and fundraising like it would.

“I was definitely hopeful and always pretending it was going to happen and never knowing,” Revell said.

There will be some adjustments for this year’s run. Competitors will be running a half marathon instead of the normal 26.2 miles. Participation was cut to around 50% or 6,500 runners.

As part of the adjustments, there also won’t be the normal festivities and celebrations at the finish line.

Whether it was going to be virtual or canceled, Revel said he was going to “run one way or another.”

“It takes perseverance to do the race and it takes perseverance to walk this journey because as a parent it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do…to hear that your child has an illness that is going to rob them of their lives,” Revell said.

When Revell’s sons were younger, he would carry one of them across the finish line. Revell said that for several years he carried both of them across the finish line

No matter the changes, the Revell family will finish this year’s Austin Half Marathon together, fighting to find the cure for Duchenne.