Less than one month ago, I ran 13.1 miles through the streets and along the waterfront of Staten Island. It was beautiful, I had a blast and I crushed my half-marathon PR. This Sunday morning, I ran on Staten Island again. Not to race and not for the ING NYC Marathon like so many others were hoping to do before Sandy came crashing down on our city. On Sunday morning, I got on the Staten Island Ferry with about 1,000 fellow runners (marathoners and non-marathoners alike) each carrying a backpack (or two) jam-packed with supplies like flashlights, toothpaste, hats, gloves, tampons, batteries, Home Depot gift cards and more.
New York Runners in Support of Staten Island, organized by runner/triathlete/my amazing doctor Jordan Metzl created an opportunity to turn the disaster left by Hurricane Sandy and the disappointment of the ensuing cancellation of the NYCM into an incredibly positive and uplifting effort.
|Sea of orange runners heading to SI Ferry|
Runners dressed in their best & brightest orange (many in the ING NYC Marathon tee), broke into smaller running groups going varying distances and delivered essentials to drop-off locations and helped in anyway we could.
While many came to SI with their running teams, friends, family, etc., I came by myself but was quickly welcomed into a group of about 10 others. We got to know each other as we ran and encouraged each other up those tough SI hills. Running has introduced me to so many amazing people and I'm glad to have met more new runner friends on Sunday. Go "Dream Team"!
Our first stop was at Wagner High School, an donation center that was also acting as a temporary home to many families and animals who lost or were evacuated from their homes.
After dropping most of our backpacks, our group decided to continue further and into Midland Beach where we might be able to help more. We held onto a few things to aid in the cleanup and were able to pass those out in neighborhoods close to the beach.
There are a lot of pictures of the destruction on Staten Island (a few other runners posted some on the NY Runners in Support of SI facebook page). I personally didn't take any photos of the damage mainly because it didn't feel right to me, but also because I was (and still am) busy struggling to digest everything that I observed. In the days after Sandy hit, I heard so many people complaining that they lost power/internet/cable or had to wait hours to get a few gallons of gas. I can't understand how you can complain when these people have swept up their entire water-logged lives into garbage bags and piled them on their front lawns to be thrown away. And despite all of it, they were unbelievably appreciative. And even apologetic to would-be marathoners that the race was canceled! Unreal.
Although we witnessed a lot of destruction, the focus has now shifted to recovering and rebuilding. I continue to be in awe of the strength and resiliency of those impacted by this storm. It was only appropriate that the ride to and from Staten Island includes an incredible view of Lady Liberty standing tall and strong in NY harbor.
Although we brought tons of supplies and volunteers to help with recovery on Sunday morning, there is so much still to be done to get people back on their feet. Help is needed in Staten Island, the Rockaways, many parts of New Jersey, and other areas so hard hit by the storm. And so I urge you...donate, volunteer, help in anyway you can!
Here is some info on volunteering/donating:
Donation for a friend in Hoboken (a little more near & dear to me personally)