About This Project
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy plowed into the East Coast, damaging many homes beyond repair and killing a number of people. The New York City Marathon, scheduled to race a week after the catastrophic event, was to start where it always does — Fort Washington, which is at the base of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island. However, Staten Island received a lot of press for the devastation that racked the borough. The mayor of NYC Michael Bloomberg and the New York Road Runners Club who runs the event received a lot of flak for resolving to run the race, so much so that they eventually caved and canceled the race — on the Friday before the Sunday race.
I heard via a text message from a friend of mine that the race was cancelled. Not but a few minutes later, after seeing confirmation on Twitter that it indeed had been cancelled, I resolved to run my own NYC Marathon that coming Sunday, and I promoted my endeavor on Twitter. I was going to run a marathon by doing 4+ loops of Central Park. As I got more people interested, I caught the interest of the Huffington Post, and later, the Associated Press, which spread the story far and wide.As runners started to show up at Grand Army Plaza in Central Park on Sunday morning, November 4th, I handed out spirit bracelets and gels. They were also greeted by Canadian vlogger Aimée Davison, who had bused in overnight from Montreal to do a documentary on “The NYC Replacement Marathon,” which I had dubbed the little event. Aimée got footage of the runners and fanfare, as well as footage of Angie Atkinson, a singer/songwriter friend of mine who came to make this event even more ceremonial by singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which surprised me as being quite possibly the best, most moving rendition of the song I’ve ever heard (and it was 39 °F outside!). Watch it on the right.
When it was all done, I actually ran an ultra-marathon in that I ran more than 26.2 miles (what constitutes a true marathon). I ran it slowly and without a lot of assistance (like enough hydration!), but the event was truly incredible. There were infathomable numbers of runners in the park doing loops in both directions. It was an impromptu NYC Marathon. Aimée’s documentary doesn’t capture all of the many people in the park, but it covers just my little effort along with the participants’ efforts. It also got quite a number of views on YouTube.
Shot by Aimée Davison on November 4, 2012.
Featuring Angie Atkinson singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Here are the outlets that I know of that ran the story about the NYC Replacement Marathon.