There’s a good reason to run in New York, the marathon that heals you

NEW YORK – Here we run to repair the world (and the living). It is no longer a stroll in Central Park, but the largest neighborhood party in the world or the largest mass gathering of humanity, you choose the diction you prefer. «Marathon is back, baby», the marathon is back. New York reopens its doors to the great breath, to do good for yourself and for others. It does not talk about records (too many the five bridges), but about inclusion, physical and above all mental well-being. More than 400 million dollars distributed to charity since 2006, too bad that revenues have fallen by 80% due to the pandemic and 260 people in the organization have lost their jobs (but now positions are reopened). This is the 51st edition, the hottest in history (18 ° C), with 2,222 Italians, behind it has one million and three hundred thousand participants. Once on the loneliness of the marathon runner they wrote us books, films and songs. Springsteen’s Born to Run is from 1974. The 42 kilometers and 195 meters were an existential escape, the desire to be misunderstood, a rebellion without cause. And without why. Remember Forrest Gump’s “I’m a little tired” in ’94? Or The art of running by the Japanese Murakami (2009)? Today we run for one, many causes: against all kinds of misfortunes, difficulties, illnesses, to ward off traumas. It is a collective patch, perhaps it does not cure, but it disinfects wounds, as in 2001, when fifty days after the 9/11 attack, Chris Bilsky, a nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, never stopped crying, ran with the names of three friends written on their arms, lost in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Now the motto is «Running Stronger. Together “. This marathon has just been declared by the Stonewall Inn the first “Safe Space” sporting event for the LGBTQ + community. And for the first time, the non-binary category will have a prize ($ 5,000 to the top five). Instead, the firefighter Gary Muhrcke who won the first edition in 1970 was given a watch, but no drink, because no one had the corkscrew for the soda bottle (there were no cans yet).

Today there are various filling stations for nursing women, 1,600 chemical toilets, 90,000 bottles of water, 40 medical tents, stocked with 14,000 bandages and 220 tubs of petroleum jelly for foot blisters. Among the top runners, the Italian Daniele Meucci, 37, in his third outing of the year. Even celebrities are here for someone and not (only) to polish their fame: actor Ashton Kutcher (ex of Demi Moore) will make his debut at 44 for “Thorn”, a non-profit that defends children from online sexual abuse, Claire Holt of the Vampire Diaries will run for the Boston Children’s Hospital, to remember that in 2003 the rapper P. Diddy, raised two million dollars for the New York Department of Education. And if the Big Apple wins nothing in sport, everyone wins in her marathon. She runs for you, for you, for us.

Noor Abukaram comes from Ohio, for the first time he will be at the start, with his parents. In 2019 she was a student from her and she was disqualified in a cross country competition because she wore the hijab. Jon Auty is from New Jersey, at the age of 78 he returns to racing after 40 years, in honor of the love of his life, his wife Bev, who died of cancer in 2021. Berkley Cameron is from Chicago, for 12 years he has been syringing miles to save the animals, he has already raised $ 50,000 to treat 30,000 cats and dogs. Raymond Choy is from Queens, he is 71 years old, an accident at work in ’93 made him disabled, he has not lost heart, he is in his 24th marathon. Jack Cummings, 34, English from Yorkshire, British Army soldier, hit by a bomb, lost his legs, after three and a half years in a rehabilitation center he is part of the Making Generation Resilience team. Carla Drumbeater is from Minnesota, of the Ojibwe tribe, when she discovered she had diabetes, she joined the Native Strength Revolution, an organization that teaches natives to stay healthy. She has lost 24 kilos, she has become a yoga instructor and teaches how to keep illness at bay with training. Natalie Edmundson, in ’97 was in the last year of school, when a shooting killed 17, she runs for Sandy Hook Promise, a charity committed to safeguarding students. Costa Ioannu of Queens competes for “Cure Epilepsy”, in honor of her daughter Joanna, who died in her sleep at 9 from an attack of the disease on November 6 four years ago. Passle Helminski, 68, is a Pennsylvania lady who in July 1993 was training to run in New York, she was attacked and hit in the throat (left carotid artery), the subsequent heart attack left her speechless and with the right immobilized. She heard the doctor say, “You will die in the next 48 hours.” Two weeks later he came out of the hospital and for her the marathon became taking a few steps to get to her mailbox at her home. In these 29 years she has broken tibia, arm, nose, she has been operated on the eye, but today she competes for Voices for Independence, instead of her dog Zoey she will have a human guide. Maryam Naghavi from San Francisco will be there to represent Iranian women, voiceless and faceless. To say with or without worry that crossing the finish line is always a return to the future.

Published on The Republic

There’s a good reason to run in New York, the marathon that heals you