2012 New York Marathon – To Run or not to Run?

2012 New York Marathon – Updated December 2012

Well, clearly this was written before the race was officially cancelled at 6pm local time on the Friday before the race. As I sat at the airport waiting at the gate in San Diego, I spent sometime reading the NYRR message boards and was terrified by the turmoil the race was causing. Running 26.2 is hard enough, and running through a city that clearly did not feel the same enthusiasm and optimism as I originally had, caused a change of plans.

There was no way I was going to let my BFF run her first marathon with that much negativity. Before the plane took off, we had already decided to run the Seattle marathon, registered and booked flights for two weeks later. By the time I landed, the NYRR had cancelled the 2012 NYC Marathon.


I will be running the 2012 NYC Marathon

Well, let me start by saying I am fully intending to run the New York Marathon in 4 days. In a perfect world, I will board my airplane Friday morning San Diego direct to JFK and taxi into Manhattan to meet my girlfriend who will also be running her first marathon ever. I am going in with the power of positivity and optimism that the transportation will work out, we will get our bibs, make it to the to the start line on Staten Island and run 26.2 miles through all 5 boroughs.

I hope and anticipate that the energy from this race will reverberate through the city and bring vitality and life into the devastated areas. But I didn’t come to this decision lightly…as this is a very bittersweet and a difficult situation all around.

But it wasn’t an easy decision to make

I really should stop planning trips to NYC for races altogether. Last year in August, I flew into the city to run the Bronx half marathon. Guess who else had the same idea? Hurricane Irene. Who we promptly named “FTB Irene” as she shut the city down and the race was cancelled. We cozied up in my girlfriend’s studio apartment, drank skinny Hurricanes and played Scene-It, the Seinfeld version. That was a devastating storm, but nothing like Sandy. I don’t know what we’ll call her yet, but it will be nastier than “FTB.”

The race will go on…

Late Monday, New York Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg sounded very optimistic that the 2012 NYC Marathon would go on as planned. Stating that they had time on their side, resources to repair damage and contingency plans in place. Tuesday was another story, as the damage was assessed. The marathon website maintained the same “be safe” message all day and it wasn’t until late in the afternoon PST that I learned that the race would indeed go on.

When I read…

“After 9/11 the marathon was part of the healing effort and we think this will be healing too. This will showcase that we as a city and a region can pull ourselves back up and help each other after a severe storm”

I cried a little bit. I’m not exactly sure what the tears were for, the loss, the chaos, the fear caused by the storm and the reality of the damage that has been done. But also good, because I think humans are amazing on many levels.

Today, city officials, race directors and even Mayor Michael Bloomberg maintain that the 2012 New York Marathon is on, and they are counting on runners to make it in on time and run their hearts out on Sunday. The race traditionally generates 340 million in revenue for the city and is one of the 5 world marathons. Bringing athletes of all levels together to celebrate health in an amazing endurance event is a way to inspire, refuel and charge the city back up with the emotional electricity it needs to continue rebuild itself.

But many logistical details are TBD as public transportation is limited, power outages are at large, there is extensive flooding, and downed trees and debris throughout the city. One report confirms that the only thing that is certain is that “the backdrop of the course will be a disaster.”

The commitment to train for a marathon is nothing short of heroic.

It takes many months and upwards of 500 miles to condition your body to run the full distance. The commitment and mental perseverance to get through that alone is honorable. On another level, to bring 50K people together and run them through 26.2 miles of the most densely populated city for the 43rd year in a row is just short of crazy-insane. For the city to make the commitment to honor this race for all those who have spent months preparing is beyond inspiring. I’m grateful that I will (hopefully, I’m still in San Diego and very far from the start line) get to be a part of this magnificent event.

I am so sad for all those that have been affected.

Yesterday, even though it was sunny and 70 in San Diego I shut my blinds like I could feel the storm here. I could hardly muster a smile and couldn’t bring myself to put on my running shoes for a 5 mile easy run. Today I’m still uneasy. But I am prepared to support the city’s recovery and to run my little heart out in the 2012 New York Marathon. I do however think that one more thing is for certain, this race to will prove to be absolutely like no other in history.

Teresa Marie Howes, BS, CPT, HHP
Teresa Marie is a nutrition expert, fitness enthusiast and health coach. She is backed with a BS in Nutrition, an MBA, a CPT from ACE and 16+ years of experience in the weight loss and wellness space. She is the founder and lead contributor of this site and coaches clients across the globe on how to achieve better health and more happiness by implementing the 4 Universal Diet Truths of her Clean & Colorful Concept.

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  • Marisa Vallbona

    Teresa, what a beautiful tribute to one of the best marathons in the world. You and everyone who runs the NY Marathon are going to love it even more this Sunday, knowing that you’re running in solidarity… supporting the belief that you’re all coming together declaring that nothing can stop America and NYC from showing how great it is. Run like the wind, my dear friend. And show the world we can’t be stopped!

  • Sandy A.

    Wow! So well written Teresa darling. I will be thinking of you come Sunday. And I just want to tell you that people like you are indeed an inspiration and the optimism you will take with you to NYC will be felt!

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