The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

November 4, 2012

N.Y. marathon canceled? Tell that to the runners

NEW YORK —  Never mind the cancellation. Here comes the marathon.

Thousands of runners poured into New York City's Central Park on Sunday morning to do what they had prepared so long to do — put in 26.2 miles.

That's despite the abrupt announcement Friday evening that the world's largest marathon had been called off because of Superstorm Sandy.

Hundreds of other runners, wearing their marathon shirts and backpacks full of supplies, took the ferry to hard-hit Staten Island and ran to hard-hit neighborhoods to help.

Shortly after dawn, groups of runners started gathering on the edges of Central Park to warm up, take photos and drop off clothing and other items for storm victims.

Italians stretched en masse near the Plaza Hotel. The Germans started from Columbus Circle. Everyone plunged into the park to pursue their own race. Some ran around the park clockwise, some counterclockwise, taking over startled dog walkers with a riot of color.

"A lot of people just wanted to finish what they started," said Lance Svendsen, who organized an alternative marathon called Run Anyway. By 8:45 a.m., his group had sent off five waves of runners from the marathon's official finish line, which had not yet been taken down. "It is amazing. My guess is about 600 people have left so far."

It was a throwback to the original New York City Marathon in 1970, which was run ragtag with 127 people and stayed completely within Central Park.

With the cancellation, this year's runners all are guaranteed entry into next year's race, but not everyone could be sure that chance would come.

"I'm in the military, and I could be deployed," said Ruben Arredondo, 36, of Los Angeles, who showed up outside the park at 6:45 a.m. to join a group called the Replacement Marathon, which had been organized online just hours before.

The morning surge surprised even some participants and their fans. Tracey Busch of New Jersey was near the finish line with a small cowbell in each hand, cheering on passing runners who weaved through the crowd of organizers, tourists and media.

"It was kind of eerie because initially there was no one, and then suddenly there was everyone," said Busch, who had arrived around 7 a.m.

Runners refueled at hot dog stands and dodged cyclists and strolling tourists.

"This is the great power of running," said Vincent Laiz, 37, who came from Spain. Seconds later, his impromptu and international group counted down the seconds, in German, to 8 a.m., whooped and set off.

Some, like a team from Bermuda, hadn't fully shaken the sadness of the cancellation. "It's like when you find out that Santa Claus isn't real," said Spencer Conway, 30, who had turned his country's flag into a cape.

Teammate Natalie Dyrli said the week had been a roller coaster. "I wanted to come home with my medal on," she said.

But then they excused themselves and set off into the crowd.

Many runners were finding a way to volunteer for storm victims. On the steps of a statue just outside the park at Columbus Circle, a newly created grassroots group called Run4All was collecting donations in cardboard boxes.

"A lot of people brought extra clothes," said Gabriella Moreno, 23, from Mexico. She was amazed by the waves of runners but understood.

"If you've shaped your life around something for so long, what's stopping you?" she said.

On Staten Island, the runners with backpacks emerged from the ferry for a quick briefing.

Staten Island resident Jonscott Turco gave instructions. "The devastation and damage you are about to wander into ... " He paused, almost teary. "It's pretty extraordinary. The only thing I can prepare you for is they're still finding people, remains."

He told the runners that some people were grateful they were there but might not react very nicely.

They set off. "I'm a little nervous that they're going to be like, 'Who the hell are you?'" said runner Danielle Jakob.

The landscape worsened as they approached the waterfront. Shuttered gas stations. Long gas lines, with people asleep in their cars.

One man honked and yelled, "There's no marathon! Go home!" But people standing outside one deli yelled encouragement: "Thank you, ladies!" ''God is good""

Near the water, there were no traffic lights and far more sirens. Houses looked like they had been sacked. Furniture was in front yards, washing machines, TVs.

But one guy came out of his home and asked if the runners had flashlights, and they did. At another house, a family wearing face masks asked for batteries and sweatshirts. They said, "God bless you." The man said, "Let me take your picture."

For runner Hana Abdo, the whole scene was striking. When she found out the marathon had been cancelled, "I was almost in tears because I've been training for two years," she said.

"But what is two years of my life to somebody's whole life?"

 

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Woman, teenager found dead in Lake Erie; 2 missing

    The bodies of two of four missing boaters were recovered in western Lake Erie on Thursday, a day after the group left for an afternoon of fishing and sent pictures to relatives.

    April 18, 2014

  • Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

    Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that’s similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it’s not too hot and not too cold for life.
     

    April 18, 2014

  • Lordstown eyes fall rollout of updated Cruze

    Production of the updated Chevrolet Cruze is tentatively set to begin early this fall at the General Motors facility in Lordstown, a plant official confirmed.
     

    April 17, 2014

  • A year after background check defeat, modest goals

    Democratic worries about this November’s elections, a lack of Senate votes and House opposition are forcing congressional gun-control supporters to significantly winnow their 2014 agenda, a year after lawmakers scuttled President Barack Obama’s effort to pass new curbs on firearms.
     

    April 17, 2014

  • College Board provides a glimpse of new SAT

    Anxious students — not to mention their parents — can get a heads-up for how the redesigned SAT might look in two years.
     

    April 17, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Poll finds Clinton trouncing entire GOP field

    Hillary Clinton isn’t only the strong front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but she’s well ahead of every potential Republican rival, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll.
     

    April 16, 2014

  • Ukraine bares teeth against eastern uprising

    In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, government forces repelled an attack Tuesday by about 30 gunmen at an airport, beginning what the president called an “anti-terrorist operation” to try to restore authority over the restive region.
     

    April 16, 2014

  • U.N. Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

    The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

    April 16, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia causing Ukraine unrest

    The White House on Monday said there was “overwhelming evidence” that Russia is fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but suggested that President Barack Obama has not yet concluded that Vladimir Putin’s actions warrant broader sanctions on key Russian economic sectors.

    April 15, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video