Fifteen thousand runners are set to hit the pavement Sunday for New York City's Half-Marathon. It's the first big race for the New York Road Runners after Sandy forced the organization to cancel the marathon in November.
Mary Wittenberg, CEO of the group, says it was inspiring to see how runners from all over the world came together to support the city with fundraisers and volunteering after the race was cancelled.
“Last year, the spirit of the Marathon was reflected in our runners and our efforts became even more about service and I think that there's really something to carry forward with that,” Wittenberg said.
The race starts on Central Park’s West Drive near 64th Street, continues down Seventh Avenue, turns west on 42nd Street, and runs down the West Side Highway, before ending at the South Street Seaport. The location of the finish line is significant because the neighborhood was devastated by Sandy. NYRR is asking runners and onlookers to patronize businesses in the area.
“We worked with restaurants and bars and shops in Lower Manhattan and we're promoting them on our Web site and the runners received information on how they can support those establishments and help them get back on their feet,” Wittenberg said.
Wittenberg says several charities have raised $4 million through the race.
The New York Road Runners will hold the Brooklyn Half-Marathon in May and a series of smaller races in each of the boroughs leading up to the ING New York City marathon in the fall.