by Chris Brewer
Despite the fact that there were 25 other cities putting on their version of the Nike+ Human Race 10K, there was just something about being in the Big Apple New York City that really added some no-kidding excitement to this big day.
Things got started around 3pm as the denizens of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, New Jersey and all points in between descended on Randall’s Island. They came by ferry, subway, bus, taxi, car and just kept on coming. The island itself is home to Icahn Stadium and many a track and field world record. But today it would be something equally special: host to one of the races in the world’s largest sporting event!
But even in its success at getting so many people moving and off the couch, the event also significantly benefited three charities. The LAF was proud to join the UN Refugee Agency and the World Wildlife Fund as the recipients from these amazing runners, and we got to spend some time with their reps in the tent village that Nike had so graciously set up for us.
From the LAF side, we called into action two solid volunteers to help out. Manhattan’s Michael Wolf and New Jersey’s Ken Youner were ready, willing and able despite the last minute call to action. The three of us spent many hours thanking those that supported us, handing out dozens of “In Honor of” and “I am a Survivor!” running bibs, and then post event giving away HUNDREDS of yellow glow sticks on lanyards to wear at the concert.
- Of particular note was a large group of West Point cadets. They came up to the table with their game faces on, and asked if they could have a lot of the cards. We were honored to help, and then even more so when we realized that every one of them was writing the same name: Joel Namy. Joel was a classmate that passed away 3 months ago from leukemia, and his memory was fresh in the minds of these amazing young people. As I read through his story it was clear to me this was a man who truly lived strong…
- In the “You Never Know Who You’ll Meet Department”, Rebecca Grella came by to say hello. She’s a cancer survivor, a contributing author at LIVESTRONG.com, and literally full of life!
As for the race itself, it was two laps around the island, but it was more fun run than a time to set a Personal Record. The sheer volume of over 10,000 runners in red was a sight to behold, a seemingly never-ending stream as they made their way around the narrow running path. While most folks took the better part of an hour to complete the course, it was to 40-somethings that came home with the goods as John Hedwood (32’39″) and Jill Vollweiler (39’35″) took first in the male / female categories. After the race it was everyone back to get their bags (and glow sticks!) and then off to the concert with the All American Rejects.
As the night wound down and the fireworks lit up the sky, it was time to jump upon your mode of transportation of choice and head out to enjoy the rest of the Labor Day holiday. As I made my way back south aboard the ferry I couldn’t help but recall the sea of red, to see 10,000 people “Just Do It”, and do it for a great cause like the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Thanks again to everyone from Nike, and especially to Kathy Webb, Linda Tanner, and Melvin Miller for all their hard work and hospitality LIVESTRONG!
One of the many cadets that honored Joel Namy
Chris working the booth
Chris with survivors Rebecca Grella and Ken Youners
Can’t get any closer to the start than this!
Runners heading out
Runners. LOTS of runners.
Lopez Lomong (2008 United States Olympian 1500 meters / flag bearer) and Nate Robinson (New York Knicks Point Guard) with the winners.