Although the New York City Marathon was canceled this year amidst criticism that it would have diverted crucial resources away from Superstorm Sandy’s recovery efforts, that doesn’t mean all the runners stayed at home that day. Would-be marathoners were passed off by many as being selfish and caring more about their sport than those who lost everything in the storm; but the thousands who landed in NYC pitched in with resourceful ways to help out victims of Sandy.
Around 1,300 runners ran their own version of the race on Sunday, the day the marathon would have taken place. They traveled to Staten Island with donated supplies for residents and literally ran food, flashlights, warm clothing, pre-paid cell phones, and other items door-to-door and to relief centers to help those desperately in need. Another group, Marathon of Relief Efforts 2012, continues to volunteer in places around the city to provide a marathon of service to those affected. Nearly 400 people have signed up to take part.
Many who don’t live in New York City also stepped up to lend a helping hand. The mayor of Newark reported that a group of 40 would-be runners from Amsterdam called his office to volunteer.
Runners who still want to run and who may not be close to New York City can look up Run4NYC, a charity committed to raising money for victims of the storm. It’s a virtual race for anyone, anywhere. Sign up to run a marathon, half marathon, or 5k, donate money for the cause, and then lace up your sneakers and get running. “Whether you have 26.2 or 2.62 miles in you,” proclaims their website. All donations, $3,000 so far, go to the American National Red Cross relief fund.
Another charity, organized by the New York Road Runners, has already raised $2.6 million for Sandy relief. They are asking for donations of $26.20, the length of a marathon in miles translated to dollars.
The thousands of runners that were scheduled to run the NYC marathon must have been disappointed, and understandably so, when the race was canceled. They had trained all year for the race, giving substantial amounts of energy, time, and money for it, with some traveling from all over the world to participate. But the cancellation happened for good reason, and the runners who quickly stepped up to give back to the devastated communities showed that they realized what was more important in the long run.
Image via time.com