The cancellation of the NY Marathon didn't stop over 2,000 runners from gathering in Central Park this morning to run 4 laps of the park, equaling nearly 26.2mi. Each runner brought donations for the hurricane relief effort. Over 300 more runners headed to Staten Island to lend a hand in the clean up. Others embarked on an unofficial marathon, following the traditional route through some of the most devastated areas of Staten Island and Red Hook.
On my way to work I rode past runner after runner, headphones in, packs of food and water on their backs for their solitary journey. No one was cheering them on. Most of them were running alone. (I knew they were doing the marathon route because you never see fully geared up people running through Bed-Stuy.) Now I've run a marathon before, and I can't imagine trying to get through those 26.2 miles without support. It was truly inspiring. I know that the difficulty of their pilgrimage today is nothing compared to what some people suffered at the hands of the hurricane, and many people criticize their actions. But I say the runners efforts represent the exact courage, strength and resilience that New York needs right now.