Athletes chase American dream in Dublin
Event gave would- be NY marathon runners a chance to do it at home
It was a case of “first time’s a charm” for Karen Lavelle, lead female runner in the Dublin New York City Marathon yesterday in the Phoenix Park, organised for athletes who had trained and raised money for the New York marathon, which had been scheduled to take place on Sunday, November 4th but cancelled two days before the race was due to take place.
The city had suffered serious damage in the days leading up to the planned event due to superstorm Sandy, which hit the US at the end of October claiming 113 lives, halting New York city’s subway system and causing huge damage to Staten Island, Queens and southern Brooklyn.
Lavelle, from Dundalk, runs with Meath-based Star of the Sea Athletics Club, and was running the marathon to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society. “My mother, Jennifer Cass, died of cancer 10 years ago,” she said. Of the decision to cancel the New York City Marathon, Lavelle said it was “most definitely the right thing to do”.
The Dublin New York City Marathon started with the US embassy’s public affairs officer Susan Cleary saying “it would take something really big to postpone the New York City Marathon . . . and [Hurricane] Sandy was really big”.
This wasn’t Wayne Raphael Reid’s first marathon, and he finished with a personal best time of two hours and 40 minutes. Reid, who finished first of the male runners in the Phoenix Park, wasn’t running for a charity.
Liam Ó Riain, chairman of the Dublin Marathon organising committee, was in New York when the event was cancelled. “I was looking at all of these people who had raised money for charities, who had trained all year . . . so we said ‘look, we could do something for these people’.”
The event was organised with the co-operation of the Office of Public Works, the American embassy and An Garda Síochána, as well as the organising committee of the New York City Marathon, who shipped over the official race medals from the US event.
Joe Wright, from Clontarf, who was the third male finisher, ran his first marathon three years ago in New York. He finished in two hours and 50 minutes – “a personal best by seven minutes”. Wright was running to support Temple Street Children’s Hospital.
Catherine Clarke, from Rush, who was running for mental-health charity Suicide or Survive, was “very disappointed” by the cancellation of the marathon in New York, but said yesterday’s event was a “great opportunity for people to fulfil their obligations [to charities for whom they had raised sponsorship money]”.
Tullamore runner Gina Guinan was “really grateful to get the chance to run after the disappointment of New York”.