NY Marathon Runners Deliver Goods Instead

While others complete the race at Central Park

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Nov 4, 2012 3:17 PM CST

(Newser) – Never mind the cancellation. Here comes the marathon. Thousands of runners poured into New York City's Central Park this 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.

Staten Island resident Jonscott Turco gave them 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." The landscape worsened as they got closer—and some residents told them to go home—but the runners helped others by providing clothing, batteries, and flashlights. "I was almost in tears because I've been training for two years," said one runner of the cancelled marathon. "But what is two years of my life to somebody's whole life?"

Mary Wittenberg, president of the New York Road Runners, reacts after speaking with a family whose house was heavily damaged during Superstorm Sandy, in the Staten Island, New York, Nov. 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Carrying a backpack with goods and supplies, marathon runner Eitan Tabak runs past debris in the hard hit Midland Beach neighborhood of the Staten Island borough of New York, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Runners who were planning to run in the New York City Marathon run through Central Park in Manhattan in an alternative marathon in New York, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012.   (Cara Anna)
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