Sunday, November 4, 2012

Runners stage unofficial NYC marathon in Central Park

The ING New York City Marathon may have been cancelled but that didn't stop nearly 2,000 of the 47,000 registered runners from staging their own race through Central Park on Sunday morning.

The unofficial run was organized on Facebook on Saturday afternoon by a couple of friends who had spent months fundraising to run for the ALS Foundation and wanted to finish what they had started.

The "Run Anyway New York City Marathon" had 1,700 fans on Facebook and organized a donation drop-off for the Hurricane Sandy relief at the original marathon's finish line at the old Tavern on the Green site.

Generators sat idle while the tents and supplies that caused the run or not to run ING NYC Marathon so much controversy over the past few days were stacked on the side of the road. Today's runners brought their own water.

If only Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Road Runners had the foresight to call off the "real" marathon earlier in the week, alternative grassroots runs like this could have been organized as well.

The overall sentiment among the runners was that the race needed to be cancelled due to the storm, but not at the eleventh hour.

Runners from all over the world — many wearing their orange NYC Marathon shirts and bibs — met at 8 a.m. inside Central Park and ran four laps around the Manhattan landmark's oval — nearly equivalent to the marathon's 26.2 mile course.  Call it old school.  The first NYC Marathon was run on the same course.

Spectators showed up waving pompoms, clanging cowbells and cheering on the runners from the leftover bleachers.

Now some of the once disappointed participants can say they ran the NYC Marathon — sort of.

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