Will Reeve Will Be 'Thinking' of Parents Dana and Christopher Crossing N.Y.C. Marathon Finish Line

"I feel that pride and love from them all the time," the ABC News correspondent tells PEOPLE

In 2016, Will Reeve finished the New York City Marathon despite, as he insists, "not really being what I would call a runner."

"I felt so proud of myself for accomplishing a goal that I had set that I wasn't sure I was capable of achieving," the 29-year-old recounts now to PEOPLE. He adds, "I've always felt so loved and supported by people who know me, who know my parents' story, who knew my parents, who know what we do at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. I felt like I was running for all of them. So to get to actually complete the marathon and say, 'Hey guys, I did it,' was quite emotional for me."

Now, five years later, Reeve is running the marathon once again this Sunday. And he's only ramped up his goals since 2016.

"My initial fundraising goal for Team Reeve this year was $52,000. Last time I ran it in 2016, I raised around $42,000," he explains. "So part of it was wanting to just challenge myself and increase my fundraising goal."

Will Reeve
Will Reeve. Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty

The number 52 has dual meanings for Reeve, he adds: "My dad [Christopher Reeve] passed away when he was 52 years old. So I figured let's go 52, so that every time that I check my fundraising status, I'll be reminded why I'm running, the significance of that number. And I hope to blow past that number in terms of fundraising, for sure."

Reeve was just three years old when his father, best known for playing Superman, was paralyzed in 1995, and was only 11 when the actor died in 2004. Two years later, his mother Dana Reeve died of lung cancer at the age of 44.

The correspondent has honored his parents' legacy as a board member of the aforementioned Reeve Foundation. The organization is dedicated to finding cures for spinal cord injuries and providing quality of life care for people living with paralysis, and other individuals affected by paralysis.

Will Reeve, Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve
Will Reeve with his parents Dana and Christopher Reeve. Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic

"We have a dual mission called 'Today's Care. Tomorrow's Cure', and that reflects the dual mission that my parents, Christopher and Dana Reeve had," Reeve explains, now. "My dad's mission was to get out of his wheelchair. He dreamed of a world of empty wheelchairs, and he was obsessed with finding a cure for paralysis. My mom, as his primary caregiver — and as the face in many ways of caregiving while they were together, while my dad was in a wheelchair — was primarily focused on making sure that people living with paralysis and their families and their loved ones and communities, et cetera, can enjoy as close to a normal life as possible."

Raising those funds for the foundation, Reeve says, is what keeps him motivated when training gets tough. He admits it's been difficult to find time to squeeze in long runs when traveling for his job with ABC.

He's also got a trusty playlist all set to help push him along. Reeve explains that the playlist is the exact length of the finish time he's aiming for: "I plan to put it on shuffle and press play as I cross the starting line."

"If I stop hearing music, that means that I haven't hit my goal," he notes of his run soundtrack, which includes everything from Mumford & Sons to songs from Moana ("It slaps," he promises.).

The journalist is one of around 70 runners and hand cyclists participating in the marathon for Team Reeve this weekend, and he's looking forward to being cheered on by the famously fun crowd in New York.

And though his parents won't be at the finish line, he knows what his mother and father would say.

"They would say that they're proud of me and that they love me and they wouldn't need to be at the finish line of the marathon for me to know that and feel that every day, because I feel that pride and love from them all the time," he explains. "And I felt that when they were alive and I've felt that since they've passed away. And to me, my parents have been gone for each nearly two decades now, but I feel them all the time."

Says Reeve,"I try to live up to their legacy all the time. And so when I cross the finish line at the marathon, I will be thinking of them as I always do. Maybe I'll give a little point up to the sky and say, 'Hey, I'm here.' And they'll say, 'We know, we were watching. We always are.' "

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