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  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/09/13/15/54/12lK8N.St.138.jpeg|423
    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Stephanie "Pezz" Pezzullo stretches before a training run along McMullen Creek Greenway. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Susan Black, left, and Stephanie "Pezz" Pezzullo after a run at McMullen Creek Greenway. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Susan Black, left, Stephanie "Pezz" Pezzullo, middle, and Beth Hecimovich run along the boardwalk at McMullen Creek Greenway. Says Susan: Pezz "has made a remarkable amount of progress." Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Pezz became a surrogate big sister to Matt Pedemonte and his brother when she lived with the family. Harrison Holder watches the soccer game video competition. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Pezz trains with her coach Mark Hadley, who has experience with elite runners. Ardrey Woods Drive has a 3 percent grade and gives her a challenge during 400-meter runs. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Before Pezz starts, she stretches out on Ardrey Woods Drive. Running, she says, clears her head. She is training for the Chicago Marathon in October. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    With coach Mark Hadley monitoring her time, Pezz begins the first of 12 400-meter runs on Ardrey Woods Drive. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Pezz slowly gets back on her feet after finishing her 12th 400-meter run. Coach Mark Hadley offers water. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    "I want people to know that there is hope for whatever tough situation or crazy past that you have experienced," said Stephanie "Pezz" Pezzullo. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Stephanie "Pezz" Pezzullo chooses Charlotte as her home. A small group of trusted friends here have helped her recover from post-traumatic stress disorder and prepare for a career as a marathon runner. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Stephanie "Pezz" Pezzullo: "We all cope in different ways. I really feel that I used whatever small talent or gift that I was given to keep getting to the next level of healing." Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Each day, Pezz makes time to meditate and read her Bible. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Following a hard workout Pezz slowly lowers herself into an ice bath. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    From left, Caitlin Bullock, Stephanie "Pezz" Pezzullo and Laurie Knowles are partially silhouetted against the morning sun as they run along the lake at McAlpine Creek Park. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    From left, Stephanie "Pezz" Pezzullo is hugged by Susan Black. Both had joined Beth Hecimovich for a run at McMullen Creek Greenway. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    From left, Ramona Pedemonte, Michael Pedemonte, Ron Pedemonte and Stephanie "Pezz" Pezzullo enjoy a snack in the family kitchen. Pezz lived with the Pedemontes when she first arrived in Charlotte to play for the Charlotte Eagles. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Stephanie "Pezz" Pezzullo: "Doing well in sports brought me to certain people and places that have helped me to move forward and take some shame away." Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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