Daily Archives: November 4, 2012
We welcome again guest blogger Mary Jackson Lee. As most of you know, she was scheduled to run the NYC Marathon today. Mary drafted this post before Mayor Bloomberg canceled the marathon.
There but for the grace of God go I. That is a quote I first really understood when working on a psych unit right out of grad school. A co-worker/nurse had just met with a patient we had seen several times over a short period of time on our locked in-patient unit. The patient struggled with drugs and alcohol and had relapsed again. The nurse was a recovering addict. The nurse entered the nurses’ station with the completed intake paperwork for this patient looked upward and said aloud, “there but by the grace of God go I, thank you”. In that context, I got it. I understood that she saw how fragile recovery can be and she was grateful not from a viewpoint of “better her than me!” but more from a place of “you never know what turn of events could change things for you” be grateful, acknowledge grace.
From that story I share the completion of my story I started on this blog page several weeks ago. I finished my 20 mile run and was ready to go. I was ready to run the NYC Marathon on November 4th.
The forecasters started talking about Hurricane Sandy a full week before. I would glance up at the news when it came up, but mostly thought, “That is a long way off and will be a non issue come the 4th.” Monday Oct 29th the storm hit the east coast and it did so furiously. We watched the news coverage but since most of it was night time coverage we really didn’t think too much about it impacting our trip. Tuesday morning came; I was up early to run. I thought about what I wanted to pack for the race, what type of touristy things we could do and felt excited about our trip. I returned home, turned on the news and in the daylight it became clear that this was an issue, the storm damage was staggering, and the loss of life was predicted to be significant. I began to believe our trip would be canceled and certainly, based on what I was seeing I was certain that the race would be canceled. We watched and wondered. Come Wednesday the mayor announced the race would continue, airports would be opening and the streets would be ready to welcome the 47,000 runners to NYC. The decision to travel and run the race was mine to make.
I decided to withdraw from the race. Here is what underpinned my decision. I am lucky beyond measure. I have a healthy body that likes to run. I run all year round and not just to train for races. Running is a leisure activity of mine, but not who I am. I have a group of people that I run with that are fantastic. I can afford expensive running shoes, the 255.00 entry fee to the NYC marathon, airfare, 3 nights in a mid town hotel, I have access today to running water, electricity, my home, my family, heat, food, dry clothing, our dog and waste time on my iPad. The thought of not running the marathon again this year (this is my third year deferring) is a blip, a minute speck on the spectrum of disappointment in comparison to what people on the east coast have gone through and continue to endure. This is the easy stuff folks, cancelling a marathon. Easy, done. I turn upward and say in the same manner as my co-worker, there but by the grace of God go I, thank you!
The mayor’s decision has prompted angry response from politicians, borough presidents and moreover from residents who are still grappling with the storm effects. The decision should have been made to cancel the race and disappoint runners who will get over it and at worst are being inconvenienced. I hope the residents protest the mayor and not the runners. Their decisions to run are with many layers none of which were intended to show disrespect to the residents.