Despite the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, five Native American runners from tribes in South Dakota had little doubt that the New York City Marathon race would go on as scheduled Sunday.
By Kristi Eaton
But early Friday evening, after picking up their bib numbers and getting in a quick 2-mile run, the team arrived back at their hotel to find out the marathon run had been cancelled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"It felt like a hit to the gut," Jeff Turning Heart Jr., told The Associated Press by telephone. Turning Heart Jr.—along with Amanda Carlow, Nupa White Plume, Alex Wilson and Kelsey Good Lance—had been planning to run the 26.2-mile race to raise money for a local youth shelter. They also intended to be positive role models for kids on the Pine Ridge Reservation, which is overrun with stories of suicide, alcoholism and violence.
Bloomberg canceled the race after fielding criticism that his "race must go on" stance was insensitive to a city where the death toll climbed past 40 due to the storm.
By Cliff Matias
The runners never imagined they would be coming to New York City to help another community in need but as One Spirit founder Jeri Baker said “These young people are now heroes in their community and an inspiration for our youth. That is what this trip was all about. I think that part of our mission was accomplished. There will be other races to run and goals to reach but helping people in need is priceless.”
Below: "Nupa White Plume, helping Hurricane Sandy relief efforts." (Cliff Matias)