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This spring, with some encouragement from a roommate who races, he decided to join a cancer charity running club called "Team in Training." It meets twice a week for training runs, but on Wednesday, Gennarini added a session of his own alongside the West Side highway.
"I already knew some of what was going on. My family's lost lots of stuff. There's damage everywhere," he said. "You can't be anything but sympathetic because of what's going on. But I believe, and very strongly, that they should run the race."
Along with many of the 300 or so other "Team in Training" members who showed up at the spring meeting, he's already lined up the $3,700 minimum in sponsorship pledges for charitable donations. He didn't use it to rationalize going ahead with the marathon -- "It's just something I've always wanted to do," Gennarini said -- though it's an angle that race organizers have trumpeted.
New York Road Runners chief executive Mary Wittenberg said the marathon was expected to raise about $34 million for about 300 charities before the superstorm, though no one knows what the number will be this time around.
Wittenberg noted that all the other events surrounding the race had been canceled and vowed, with the mayor's backing, that the drawdown on the city's resources would be at a minimum. She said the course has been rerouted "largely around and away from affected areas," and private buses were hired to get the runners to the start line on Staten Island, which was especially hard-hit.
"There's nothing easy about this," she said during a Thursday afternoon interview on ESPN, "and we all are stepping to our task with heavy hearts."
Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of trust. For most of us, there's no simple way to measure either the sanity or the success of going ahead with the race, other than to be able to say at the end that you finished. But the only way that happens is if you start.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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