I, like many runners, have been torn about whether to run the marathon. Whether we like it or not, this race is happening with or without us.
I mean no disrespect to those who are still dealing with the aftermath of Sandy. If anything, I pray for you and our city and have already sought opportunities to volunteer in the coming weeks.
While I am originally from Virginia, I consider myself a New Yorker. I always have been and always will be. I was here the weekend after 9-11 and I remember witnessing the resiliency, strength, and community that New Yorkers shared and I wanted a part. I cheered for the Yankees in the 2001 World Series because the city needed a reason to cheer (I have been rooting for the Yankees ever since). For the record, Hurricane Sandy is not 9-11; however, the people and their hearts are the same.
To quote Bart Yasso from My Life On the Run, pg 184:
“We had started the journey as Russians, Germans, Canadians, French, Americans, Irish, and Inuit, but we ended as athletes. Running does that to people. It brings unlikely folks together and fosters a fellowship like no other sport.”
That is exactly what the Marathon does. Those who are normally divided by borough, race, economic status, neighborhood, street, creed, etc. are one on Marathon Day. And isn’t that what we all need in this time of distress? A little unity. There is no other day when you’ll see a kid from the projects hi-five an old Hasidic Jew. It’s one day where people put aside their differences to support and cheer for another human being. It’s a glimpse of Heaven.
The conditions aren’t perfect and I wish the circumstances were different, but I support New York City and will run for it this Sunday.
Today I am asking friends, family, and any other good Samaritans:
- Donate $5 (or whatever you can) to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy Relief and share this link with your Facebook and Twitter friends. I’ve set up a Crowdrise Fundraiser.
- If you cannot donate $, please donate blood or volunteer your time to one of the many great organizations working to help families affected by Sandy.
In exchange for your donation, I will mail you a cut of my heatsheet (it’s the aluminum thing marathoners get wrapped in after a race), will etch your name on my race day shirt, and sing your praises on my LeanGirlsClub blog. For one day, we can all be marathoners and New Yorkers.
This race is not about me, never has been. It’s for New York.