Marathon Monday – my legs feel like they ran a marathon yesterday, not that I am complaining by any means just my hip is sore from the 7mile hike with a backpack full of supplies. The image below is roughly the route I recall us taking, I had no idea Staten Island was so hilly??!!? Maybe we took the scenic route but still, very hilly. This was my first trip to SI and while many are calling it is the Island New York forgot about, yesterday would prove that statement wrong. In the link here you can read about how the event was pulled together, and how runner selflessly gave up their ambitions of running their first marathon and instead dedicated their time, money, and legs to carrying in supplies.
Sunday started with an early wake up call, and a shared cab ride downtown to SoPo currently the nick name New Yorkers are calling the area South of Power. Ha! When we arrived we found to our amazement the small group of maybe a hundred runners had turned into the thousands and the SI terminal was full with runners dressed in bright orange to show our unity to the Marathon and our cause, New York Runners in Support of Staten Island.
I didn’t know who I would see at the ferry terminal but I saw many familiar faces from local tri clubs, running groups, teams, and friends. Everyone came out in big support, and smiles and pride filled the terminal. The Port Authority was so in shock they gave the runners special treatment boarding the ferry, we filled it to the gills! Everyone brought relief in various forms from supplies to smiles with hands to help clean up. The group I joined was making its way to a shelter that was 7 miles inland from the terminal on SI we regrouped once we landed on SI and then bounded off, only some of us had so much stuff we had to walk. People had rolling suitcases with supplies and just couldn’t run. We really worked up a good sweat and climbed some killer terrain (again who knew SI was so hilly?). Throughout our journey we received honks of support from the most unexpected vehicles, we even stopped to talk to one guy about his recovery effort and he helped shorten our running route with a side street or two, thanks again! video of relief runners:
When we arrived at our agreed upon shelter St. Petrides School we were told by the guards to head up another hill to a school on the other side that was actively taking donations and housing families. Ok, we took in nutrition, yeah we are triathletes & one serious runner so to us it was PowerGels and IronmanPerform and then off we went, over the hills, through the woods, and literally to the shelter we go. (cheesy rhyme but it was actually just like that). We ran for the most part through barely damaged neighborhoods, as the shelter we were supporting was generously taking in over flow of victims and families from the shore areas.
Finally we arrived at the shelter and parked outside were the good people from Dunkin’ Donuts, I have to say hot coffee and hot chocolate go a long long way in warming the cold volunteers and the families putting together their lives again. I honestly have never been so happy to see a DD truck before. They had power strips out so people could charge their phones, and people were just nice, talking and helping each other. It is great to see what humanity can do when we want to make a difference. Once inside the shelter, we walked around placing our donations in the appropriate piles, man I was happy I carried dog food in, because there honestly wasn’t much of that, later I saw on Twitter the ASPCA had been doing their own resupplying of pet care so I felt better. Families inside were playing Frisbee with their kids and were stunned to see so many orange shirts running around inside. I took a photo of the piles of supplies, but the National Guard made me delete the photo, I guess I wasn’t thinking at the moment and I was only trying to show our positive impact on the supplies we had brought together as New Yorkers and runners. They understood but asked me not to take any more photos and shook my hand; I thanked them too and put the camera away. It wasn’t disrespectful or any negative intention so I simply apologize for my unintentional insincerity.
We finished up our donations regrouped outside and had a bite to eat and some hot chocolate before making our way home. Unlike NYRR or the Mayor’s office this small patchwork of friends that started the group, New York Runners in support of Staten Island did more for the city on Sunday than the cancelation of the race, and I hope we accomplished exactly what we set out to do, maybe we inspired others that day to give their time, energy and resources to those in need. I felt proud to be part of the group that made a difference on the day. We did what many people called us out on not doing, I just would like to know where those “nay-sayers” are and if they read this that they find the strength to get up from their desk and make a difference. I was simply inspired by the amazing people around me and the founders of this effort like Jordan Metzl who has sparked a fire in the community, and shed positive light on the so called “selfish” runners who previously were only interested in running a Marathon as a goal, a race, and a selfish day to themselves.
Enjoy the gallery of photos below, the events on SI have inspired me to help more often and I am going to find a charity that I can get fully behind and excited to work with. I have teammates that are still in need of help from power and water, I also have family still affected by the storm and sincerely send my prayers, thoughts, and well wishes to everyone and especially those that now are bracing for the next storm due to hit in the coming days. There are several links here that need support.