Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Thoughts on the Canceled NYC Marathon

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy that devastated New York City and New Jersey and the surrounding areas, the New York City Marathon was canceled less than 40 hours before it was scheduled to start. This was done after assurances on Wednesday and Thursday that the race was still proceeding. Mayor Bloomberg reversed course after an uproar from citizens, runners, and the media made it politically unfeasible to continue. While I'm disappointed, I understand and have already made plans to run a different marathon this Sunday (more on that later).

To my friends and family that supported my charity, The Blue Card, I sent this email:

"This is it - the final few days before the NYC Marathon! I received word that the ING New York City Marathon will proceed on Sunday, November 4, and that this year's marathon is dedicated to the City of New York, the victims of the hurricane, and their families. Running this race has taken on an additional meaning for me and thousands of other runners who are also running for a cause, a time, or for the experience. In my twenty marathons, this is the first I am running for something larger than myself, and I consider it an honor to be able to toe the starting line. I want to thank each and every one of my supporters for your generosity and making possible what should be an unforgettable experience. For those that want to track me, my bib number is 6294 and I will be in the first wave, sixth corral, and my start time is 9:40 AM. Laura and I head to NYC tomorrow, plan to pick up my packet Saturday morning, and then relax on Saturday. Again, thank you most sincerely for your continued support and wish me luck! With most sincere thanks, Kenny."

Some friends and family urged me to boycott the race or to volunteer to help the victims. I was taken aback since it never occurred to me to not run if the race was on. My mindset was that my running would honor the victims and the city as well fulfill my commitment to my charity. It wasn't until I traveled up on Friday after work and saw the destruction and gas lines that it set in.

I posted a few videos on http://www.mobli.com/kennyames. I promised a friend I would video and photo blog on this site that her friend runs.  For me, running the race was the only option.  I see adversity and want to conquer it.  I was in my "I can do this" mode, and the human element escaped me.  While I think it was a mistake to cancel because of all the attention of the world and the charity and business that would have poured in (and that the generators that were in question were never used anyway), I do understand.  For me, it was another marathon and there will be others.  In fact, I signed up to run in Huntington, West Virginia - the Marshall University Marathon - for this Sunday.  I'm doing my second straight week of low-mileage tapering, and I hope to be really ready to race my PR.

Sammy and Laura, my two girls, ready for the ride!

The line for gas. I'm also including pictures of some of the damage as well as Laura and I at lunch in NYC and dinner before we saw Argo.

Driving around Wayne, NJ

Lunch in Manhattan with her folks, my cousin Michael, her brother and girlfriend, and her friend.

Dinner at CPK before Argo

While it would have been nice to race NYC, I'm really looking forward to WV and adding another state and hopefully setting a PR or at least getting another BQ.  Stay tuned for my race report!

1 comment:

  1. A report nicely showing the runner's desire to run regardless of the situation balanced against the realization that there are sometimes other circumstances that prevent it.