|drop off point at a local restaurant|
I have a super snack to tell you about but I’ll hold off until Thursday because there are a few things about the whole NYC marathon fiasco still bugging me. The marathon is one of my favorite events, I love the stories, the challenge involved and of course New York is my home. The conspicuous generators and finish line are right across from the Foodtrainers offices and as I walked to work post Sandy the signage and set-up seemed so inappropriate. It all hit close to home. While, in the end, the marathon was cancelled there are important lessons to be learned.
Don’t Let Others Make Your Decisions
Before the city cancelled the race, I heard from clients slated to run the marathon. Each of these runners, who trained long and hard, came to the conclusion that they would not run. Many said things like “it doesn’t feel right” and others hadn’t had power or had been relocated. Regardless of what the city said they were out. In the blogosphere and on Twitter and Facebook there was another sentiment. “The city decided the race was on and they must know what’s best.” Really? If the city thinks it’s ok to gas up thousands of buses while people wait in line for hours, they know best? If the city thinks it’s in good taste to start, as planned, on Staten Island blocks from where people lost everything, they know best? If the city thinks we should close roads and bridges for a road race, while trains are still out of order and traffic a mess, they know best? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics tells me artificial sweeteners can be part of a healthy diet (don’t get me started). I understand if you’re not seeing the news coverage or live in another country but if you were here in the city, as I am, you know better than that. In the end we all make our own decisions.
Hobbies are Hobbies
For many, the marathon is an incredible journey that takes commitment and dominates your life for months. There’s a part of marathon training that forces you to be selfish. I’ve trained for races that didn’t happen because of weather or injury and though initially upsetting, you realize that it’s just a race. For the vast majority of those scheduled to run Sunday running isn’t their profession. I tweeted that running for most people is a hobby and received some replies “no to me it’s so much more” and in all of these tweets “me” figured prominently. People didn’t want to let go of their training and their mission to see what was happening around them. This advice is coming from a prodigy in petty but there are times when that’s all trumped. The New York Post said, “In the long haul you can always go for a run. You can’t always have your dignity and your life.”
Let Voice Be Heard
The mayor’s “the race will go on” mentality was challenged by writers, politicians, police officers and publications who knew it wasn’t right and made their voices heard. I’m sure those who follow my tweets or FB posts may have been annoyed by my marathon-related messaging but it bothered me until the word “cancelled”. Whether it’s related to Sandy or Prop 37 good things can happen when you really believe in something and speak up. Some people, even some good friends, didn’t like that I suggested running was selfish or that resources, despite NYRR’s claims, were being diverted (and proof of that was Mary Wittenberg’s announcement that port-o-potty’s and generators would be redistributed to storm victims not that they were diverted). I hope that once you get over the personal disappointment you see the bigger picture, the sad picture that endures for so many in this area.
Lessons for Children
It shouldn’t take a national disaster for our children to learn some things but in our case it did. I wish I could tell you my boys were excited to make packages for firefighters, clean up the park where they play soccer or walk bundles over to donate. Initially they weren’t but they soon realized this is what you do. We’re also talking about what we can do for our planet and the weather we experienced. The thought of another Sandy should remind us that climate change is real, despite what many people have told us. We now know better.
What do you feel were the lessons learned from Sandy? Other than The Red Cross, any organizations helping out others should know about? Any thoughts on the marathon fiasco?