Well, it's been a wild and crazy week. Hurricane Sandy ravaged our NJ and NY coast causing damage to lives, homes, property and left us without power.I was fortunate to only lose power for 5 days and escaped without any personal damage.
I was still excited, yet with mixed emotions, after Mayor Bloomberg confirmed that the NYC Marathon would indeed be held. Over the next 24 hours, my brother along with thousands of other eager marathon participants, would fly in from all parts of the world only to learn that the marathon was cancelled after because too much controversy and negativity surrounded the race.
While I was in favor of running the marathon (after he initially said it would go on), I agreed with the decision to cancel it even though it should have happened earlier. With the decision final, I was ready to use my energy for good.
After learning about a couple volunteer opportunities through New York Runners in Support of Staten Island and Renaissance Church, my brother and I packed up our supplies and went to Staten Island. Seeing the homes devastated by the storm, streets filled with garbage, boats blown inland, downed trees and people scrabbling for basic necessities was a true reality check.
It was humbling working alongside individuals who had lost practically everything. We met up with other NYC runners and pitched in where we could; unloading supplies off trucks; carrying supplies to people's homes; organizing relief items as they came in; cleaning garbage out of homes and just being there for those who had lost so much.
We were received with great appreciation and were thanked more than we deserved. While volunteering, I was interviewed by ABC News:
But the true "marathoners" are the people who have lost everything and those who have been helping others clean and survive for the countless hours since the storm on Tuesday.
So, you might be wondering if I was disappointed about not running the marathon.....of course....and I think that's ok. I dedicated a tremendous amount of time and energy to training. So, yes it was disappointing not running.
However, what I witnessed in Staten Island is what life is really about: people coming together and helping each other regardless of their differences.
Here's to runners and our great state of NJ coming together!