To run or not to run…
That is the question I have been grappling with over the last couple of days.
To be honest, even in the midst of Sandy, I was dead set on running New York this year. So many factors came into play, not least of which was YOUR donations that put me over my fund raising goal in less than 3 weeks forcing me to wear a Katy Perry wig for the marathon. How could I NOT hold up my end of the deal? I was running, come Hell or high water…except the high water came…and it devastated parts of Staten Island, Manhattan and New Jersey, along with other parts of the Tri-State area.
Even as of Wednesday, I had no doubt I would be running the New York City Marathon this Sunday, pacing my girl Jersey to a sub-5:00 marathon with my blue wig from iParty; but as I’ve watched the coverage on TV and followed the posts and comments online, my determination has wavered.
The debate is passionate – on both sides. Run the race. Cancel the race. Postpone the race. All valid opinions. All of them.
My plan was to take the train down this evening, stay at my cousin’s tonight and tomorrow night, run the race on Sunday and then head home. As of last night, the trains weren’t running, my cousin had no power, and because of the lack of ferry service, the bus traffic was going to be even more congested on race day.
There is no right answer when it comes to holding this marathon, there really isn’t. Wait…no, let me re-phrase that – there are too many right answers when it comes to holding this year’s marathon.
$350 million could go a long way toward helping speed recovery in those areas of New York and New Jersey most devastated. In addition, the NYRR is donating $26.20 for every runner that starts the race – that could quite possibly be an additional million dollars to help the City and surrounding area.
But then there’s the massive manpower needed to run an event like this. The mayor has said that running the race will not take away from disaster relief, but that just sounds like wishful thinking to me. One man watching over marathoners is one man who is not out there helping those in need, and with another storm approaching, the urgency to get people at least settled reaches a higher pitch.
Several people have approached me about my wearing of the wig – that it may be an added target to those angry spectators that may decide to cross the line. If I were single and childless, I would laugh such suggestions off, in part because I know that even after 20 miles of running, I can outrun 80% of the population…but I can’t outrun projectiles…and I’m not single or childless.
Just as I gave up ever trying skydiving and bungee jumping the day I became a parent, I can’t put myself recklessly in harm’s way – I’ve been reading the comments online…they ain’t pretty. In addition, despite the fact that the wig I picked up at iParty is for a charitable cause, I would completely understand if my appearance was taken as a sign disrespect to those affected by the storm.
Too many people are hurting. I do think that the race should have been postponed or cancelled, but I also feel I owe a debt to all those that donated to the cause – I think that every charity runner is feeling that pressure.
So it is with a heavy heart that I am choosing to defer my entry into the New York City Marathon until 2013.
I wish all those who choose to run the very best; may the day treat you well. I ask the runners to show residents their deserved respect, being mindful of what those in New York and New Jersey, particularly those on Staten Island, have been through. I ask that those who disagree with those who choose to run take it out not on the runners but voice their opinions to the NYRR and the mayor.
I’ll be back next year…with my wig.
That’s a promise.
I want to thank Lara Collazo for all of the incredible work she is doing for the cause. She is the organizer of all Team Up events and has been tirelessly working with Team Up runners to make sure they get what they need when they need it. I also want to apologize to her publicly for choosing to defer so late in the game, especially in the midst of all she is doing.
AutismCares is actively seeking families affected by autism who are victims of Hurricane Sandy and invites those families to call the Autism Response Team at 1-888-Autism2 (288-4762), En Español at 888-772-9050, or email email@example.com to receive assistance. Families may also register directly at www.autismcares.org. Please pass the info on to anyone who might need help.
Another option if you would like to help is http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gene-gurkoff/charity-miles_b_2065234.html . Long story short, Gene over at Charity Miles will be making a special donation to relief efforts for every person that runs 26.2 charity miles this weekend. How awesome is he? Please check it out.