Friday, November 2, 2012


I've written more than once about my belief that there are few things that inspire the human spirit more than running. In fact, I just wrote a letter to my Grandpa last week saying that I believed running brings people together in all the good ways and none of the bad ones that disasters do. Even as I wrote that letter with the knowledge that Sandy could make her way to the east coast within a matter of days, I never imagined that running could, in fact, compound the bad ways that disasters impact us.

Yet two days before the NYC Marathon, that's the scenario with which we're all faced. The entire east coast, including my beloved New York City, is still reeling from the devastation brought by Sandy. I've spent Monday through today working 12-15 hour days dealing with my company's particular issues and was therefore well insulated on Monday and even Tuesday from the state of things. By Tuesday evening, it was dreadfully clear how badly this entire region and all its residents are impacted. I expected that NYRR would have no choice but to cancel simply because destruction would make the race all but impossible to hold.

To my surprise, they announced on Wednesday that the race would go on. As the days have passed, outrage over this decision has grown and I can see why. I can see why holding this race seems frivolous and selfish in light of the hardships being faced by millions. Many make the argument that the resources being used to stage the marathon would be better spent on recovery efforts. It's difficult for me to see how they're wrong.

At the same time, I also believe that the decision to either hold or cancel the marathon is a symbolic one. Whether it happens or doesn't happen, recovery will span months or years. I can see two options here.

1. Let's not have the race, lose the economic boon it brings, have millions do nothing on Sunday and a few thousand do everything they can to help.

2. Let's have the race, bring a spirit of resilience to millions on Sunday, maybe even inspire them so that a few thousand becomes a few hundred thousand who do everything they can to help.

In word and thought, I've professed my belief in running as a healer and something that inspires in ways that can't be measured. For the first and possibly most significant time ever, that belief is being put to the test. It's time to walk the walk.

If this race is held, I'll run it and believe with everything in me that, when all is said and done, it inspires and creates enough good to truly help everyone who's been impacted. Whether or not it should be held is something I can't stop struggling with. My heart hurts for everything about the storm, my city, this region, the people who lost their lives, homes, everything and yes, however trivially you might think it, the spirit that we have to lose or gain with the marathon.

But I'll put that aside and struggle with myself internally while externally doing everything I can to help. If you can help, please do.

Psalm 7:3-5

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