Willie Geist runs half-marathon for his dad and others with Parkinson's disease

The Sunday TODAY host ran a half-marathon this weekend to raise money for Parkinson's Disease. His father, TV journalist and author Bill Geist, has lived with the disease for decades.
/ Source: TODAY

Back in April, Willie Geist committed to running the New York City Marathon, which takes place every November. And even though the race was canceled in June, he didn't let his plans change too much.

Amid the coronavirus epidemic, the Sunday TODAY anchor, 45, continued to train for a half-marathon, while his wife, Christina Sharkey Geist, would bike by his side.

After all, they'd planned to run as part of Team Fox, the grassroots community within the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which raises funds for Parkinson's disease research. Willie's father, author and TV journalist Bill Geist, 75, has been living with Parkinson's for almost 30 years.

This past Sunday, Willie completed his half-marathon and posted several photos to document his efforts.

"HERE WE GO! Half marathon for @MichaelJFoxOrg Parkinson’s Research," he captioned a pre-run selfie. "Look what you made me do, Dad and @RealMikeJFox! About to run PD into the ground. Link in bio if you’d like to support the cause."

Christina and their 11-year-old son, George, both biked along, and at the finish line, Willie's dad surprised him.

"I ran for him and for the millions of other people living with Parkinson’s Disease," Willie wrote alongside a photo of himself and his dad. "He was in my mind, pushing me through the cold and the rain to a personal best time and then... there he was!"

So far, Willie and Christina have raised more than $40,000 for Parkinson's research through the New York City Marathon and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Throughout his training, Willie has received lots of support from the TODAY family. A week before he completed the race, he shared a selfie with the Statue of Liberty in the background from a 15-mile run along the Hudson River.

"Get it, Geist!! And you look like you’re about to beat someone like a drum," Al Roker commented.

"This is super impressive!!!!" Savannah Guthrie added.

Bill Geist first went public with his condition in July 2012. At the time, Willie discussed the news with his fellow TODAY co-hosts.

"That was a big deal for him," Willie said of his father. "We've know for several years now ... If you watch my dad on TV, you can tell, so that's why he felt like he needed to come forward. He was never ashamed or afraid of it. He just didn't want to be pitied. He didn't want to be the sick guy, as he said. He just wanted to be himself."

The day Bill revealed his diagnosis, Willie added, was a proud day for the family.

"That was not easy for him because I know what he's gone through over the years to deal with it, so very proud ... he's going to now help people," Willie said. "He's been hearing from others with Parkinson's who've said thank you for having courage, thank you for showing that you can live with this disease and have a little sense of humor about it."