Helio Castroneves is picking up extra duties, including autographing racing memorabilia for giveaways and becoming a part-time hair stylist, around his Fort Lauderdale home this off-season as his partner, Adriana Henao, prepares to run her first marathon.
Henao handed over a few extra daily responsibilities to the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner while she trains with her business partner, Yuly Vanbrakel, for the Nov. 2 TCS New York City Marathon. In return, Castroneves is waking up early to help the couple’s 4-year-old daughter, Mikaella, get to school on time and even signing some racing memorabilia for prizes for people who donate to the cause Henao’s run supports.
“He wakes at 6:15 a.m., gets her ready and combs her hair,” she says. “He loves doing her hair.”
Henao’s Nov. 2 run raises money for actor Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization, which provides health care, education and housing for people who were left homeless by the 2010 earthquake. Last year, the team raised over $300,000. This year, Henao is hoping she can bring in at least $5,000 toward the total.
Prizes for winning donors include:
+ A Shell/Pennzoil collectors mini helmet signed by Castroneves. The design replicates the helmet he raced in during the 2014 Indianapolis 500. (Anyone who donates $20 to Henao’s effort between Oct. 27 and Nov. 1 is entered into the drawing. To donate: https://www.crowdrise.com/TheLongRunForHaiti/fundraiser/adrianahenao .)
+ A 2014 Indianapolis 500 program signed by all 33 drivers in the race, including Castroneves, 2014 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan and Juan Pablo Montoya. (Anyone who donates $50 or more between Oct. 27 and Nov. 1 is entered into the drawing, which will have two winners.)
Preparing for the marathon, she’s spending most of her time running, eating and sleeping or thinking about one of the three.
“I’m sleeping like I never did and eating like crazy,” she said. “I have never done so much exercise before. Every day, I run.”
In November Castroneves and Mikaella are scheduled to head to New York City to cheer her on. Will they stand along the route with signs when Henao runs by? Maybe, but they haven’t planned that far ahead.
The experience has given Henao a new appreciation for an IndyCar driver’s training regime.
“I always admired that from Helio, being able to be so focused and working so hard for something. I tend to start things and then go to another thing without finishing it,” she said. “I kind of envied him, doing something all day and focusing on it. That happened to me with running.”
Still, she’s looking forward to going back to a more relaxed exercise routine after the marathon.
“I’m not going to feel so tired all the time – my legs hurt 24 hours (a day),” she said. “I have so much respect for athletes.”
To donate, visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/TheLongRunForHaiti/fundraiser/adrianahenao