NEW YORK (WABC) --Approximately 20,000 runners are expected to hit the streets of Manhattan this Saturday for the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, and among them will be the maitre d' from a popular steakhouse who has lost more than 50 pounds.
And he's not running the race for time.
Felix Albano has lost the weight, but gained comfort and confidence.
"I drive in all the way from New Jersey just to run the park," he said.
Albano is the maitre d' at Del Friscos at 49th Street and Sixth Avenue, but there are no steaks these days for the married father of two, who says one pivotal event made him put down the fork, lace up and get back out there.
"I tried to go on a roller coaster ride with my son in Disney World, and I couldn't fit," he said. "So that was it. Done."
Now, he is working with a nutritionist and is down to about 700 calories per day. He also does a run/walk with his sommelier Josh Stanko, who helps out with the restaurant's wine program.
"Josh is there when I'm looking at the French fries, or I'm looking at the piece of bread," he said. "He's the little mouse on your shoulder telling you, 'don't do it, don't do it.'"
Everyone at Del Frisco's knows he is a perfectionist, and they are all cheering for him as he makes changes and celebrates life.
"To be able to right run through Times Square and then down the West Side Highway, running towards the World Trade Center," he said. "That's where I got married, the top of the World Trade Center, Windows on the World. And it happens to be on my anniversary at the same time. So it's all working out. All the stars are aligning."
You can watch live coverage of the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon on Channel 7 and abc7ny starting at 7 a.m. Sunday.