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I got home late last night from a girl’s night out, around 12:00 am, and got on the computer to check my usual stuff..Facebook, Myfitnesspal, and Dailymile. I was reading through some of the posts on Dailymile and noticed people we talking about a virtual run for the people of NYC.

It’s a virtual race for those hit hardest by the hurricane. Choose your distance, decide on a donation amount, and lace up to race Nov 4 through Nov 11! Run loops around your neighborhood, through your city… anywhere you please. 100% of all money collected goes to the American National Red Cross relief fund. We’ll have a leaderboard and printable certificates for all finishers!

I liked that we could choose the distance–either a marathon (26.2 miles), a half-marathon (13.1 miles), or a 5k (3.1 miles). I was planning on a long run for today. I wasn’t sure how long, but as soon as I saw this it was decided…I was running a half-marathon tomorrow! I signed up and made my donation!

They sent me my bib number:

I posted that I was going to be doing this on Facebook to help raise awareness and hopefully encourage others to do the same. There are a lot of other ways that you can help as well!

I absolutely love being a part of the Dailymile community! I just checked to see how much money we have raised for the American National Red Cross relief fund: $1,840! This has only been up for 1 day, and doesn’t end until November 11th! It is amazing how just a little bit from each person can really add up.

I went to bed late last night and didn’t head out for my half-marathon until almost one o’clock in the afternoon, but knew this was the least I could do for the people of NYC and NJ. I know the Dailymile virtual race only said NYC, but I couldn’t not think of the people of the NJ areas that were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy as well.

I know there has been a lot of controversy over the ING NYC Marathon being cancelled and the different reactions from runners and non-runners. As a runner, I feel the need to share my thoughts on the situation, before I go into today’s run…

I definitely believe the race should have been cancelled, but I think it should have been cancelled WAY sooner than it was, as runners had already started traveling to NYC for the race. This ended up causing even more problems for the people of NYC, to include kicking them out of the hotels they were staying in because the runners had reservations for those rooms. Plus, the situation with the generators being used for the marathon and police needed to close down the course. Which brings me to another point…would the course even have been race ready by today? I don’t see how the course would have even been ready to run. I know there was talk about making changes to the course, but I still don’t think it would have been possible.

Was I going to be running the ING Marathon this year? No. Would I still feel the same way, if I would have paid to run it? Honestly, I don’t know for sure, but I do know that if I lived in NYC and had nothing left (or very little) I would not want more people coming into the city for a race.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about this, as I can see it from both sides, since I am a runner. I believe that if I would have paid to run this race that I would have been upset initially, and rightfully so, as running a marathon is not cheap and takes a lot of commitment. I don’t think non-runners understand that aspect of the sport. We don’t just go out and run a marathon. We train for months to run a marathon!

Even though I would have been upset about not being able to run the marathon, I know that I can always run another marathon, but the people of NYC are forever changed. I admire the runners would flew to NYC, found out the marathon was cancelled and stayed to help with the relief efforts in NYC and NJ.

It is a terrible situation all around, for the people of NYC, the people of NJ, and the marathon runners. However, it is a time like this when we should all come together and help one another, instead of blaming one person, or a group of people for something that no one had any control over. This was an act of Mother Nature!

Since I couldn’t go to NYC to provide assistance, I helped the people of NYC by donating to the American National Red Cross relief fund and running 13.1 miles around my neighborhood this afternoon.

Was running a 2.5 mile loop around my neighborhood 5 plus times easy? No, as I didn’t have anyone out there cheering me on, water-stops/aid stations, or a closed course. Compared to what the people of NYC are dealing with it was so much easier!

I did a lot of thinking during today’s 13.1 mile run. I have seen the pictures of NYC and NJ and I can not imagine having to go through what they are currently going through and will be dealing with for a long time. I realized just how lucky we really were during Sandy and how lucky we are now. I can’t imagine having to start living again from nothing. I pray that those affected by Hurricane Sandy find relief in any way possible.

Today’s run made me thankful that I have a house, heat, electricity, food and water. The things we all take for granted and can be taken away in the blink of an eye. There were times during today’s run when I wanted to stop, but I didn’t because the people of NYC can’t stop, as there is still a lot of work to be done. What I was doing was nothing compared to what they are doing around the clock. I knew that when I was finished with my 13.1 mile run I would be able to go home, take a shower, and get some food and water. Knowing that there were hundreds of thousands of people still without power and many without their own home to go to, kept me going. This was the least I could do for them!

Even though I haven’t seen the devastation first hand, I truly feel for those affected! Sometimes I wish I had more money or a better house, but after seeing what millions of people on the east coast have lost, I realize I was being selfish and need to be thankful for what I do have!

It is still hard for me to put into words how my heart aches for these people. I am happy that I have running to give me that time to think about others and allows me to help others as well.

While today’s half-marathon wasn’t my fastest, it was definitely my most rewarding because I wasn’t running just for myself! Yes, I love running, but I love to help others through my running as well. I am proud to be a runner and nothing is going to change that! Whether you agree with how the ING NYC Marathon situation was handled or not, please remember that runners run for many reasons, and many times it is to raise money to help other people!

Here I am after my 13.1 miles this afternoon holding my bib number…

I am smiling because I know that my donation, even though it may have been small, is going to make a big difference to the people of NYC!

Update: In the time it took me to write this blog post, Dailymile has now raised $1,980! That’s an additional $140 raised! If you would like to participate and donate, you can do so here!

Thanks for reading!

~Brooke & Rob