Today I received the Run Anyway NYC Marathon 2012 medal. It is probably the most special medal I have earned so far as a runner. It reminds me of the race that displayed the determination the marathon runner has – Run Anyway NYC Marathon 2012.
Almost two years have passed since Hurricane Sandy hit the NY/NJ metropolitan area on October 29th 2012 and in respect to those in need the NYC marathon 2012 was cancelled.
The Hurricane Sandy came just a few days before the ING New York City Marathon 2012 had to start from the Staten Island on 4th of November 2012. Mayor Bloomberg gave the marathon the green light despite Staten Island and lower Manhattan being devastated by the hurricane. On Wednesday, September 31st he announced that the Marathon will take place to symbolise the strength of the city and bring hope and joy to the devastated areas at least for one day.
The announcement was met with a massive anger and distress by many affected encouraging to give the resources to those who needed it more instead of waisting it on the race. For the safety of marathon runners, and to avoid bigger split between the two opposing sides, the marathon was cancelled on Friday, 2nd of November. It was the first time the New York City Marathon was cancelled since the beginning of the race.
I remember seeing the running line at the bottom of the TV screen announcing the cancellation. I could not believe that the race that was announced to take place just a few days ago was now cancelled. Soon the official announcement was broadcasted on the local news where the city mayor Bloomberg and the race director Wittenberg declared the ING New York City Marathon 2012 cancelled. Runners who travelled from around the world to run their dream marathon in New York City were in disbelief, sad and in tiers minutes after the cancellation of the event was made public.
Never the less, on the beautiful Sunday morning on November 4th, 2012 an alternative, spontaneous marathon took place. The Run Anyway NYC Marathon 2012 was put together in the Central Park by Lance Svendsen and Todd Koka Kelley (find out more about this incredible organisation and charity at www.runanyway.org) to replace the cancelled ING New York City Marathon 2012 and allow runners to finish what they travelled to NYC for. This and other similar spontaneous runs were completely volunteered and without official organisation. It attracted more than 2000 marathon runner to lap the Central Park in both directions, cheer one another and enjoy the historic New York City Marathon route. Local residents, tourists and passers by created an incredible atmosphere by cheering, bringing and giving away water and Gatorade, giving out fruits.
I myself managed to run three laps around the Central Park and completed the distance of 35 kilometres and was greeted by my family at the barricaded finish line of the cancelled marathon expecting to come back next year.