Atheist Plans to Run Marathon to Raise Money for Hurricane Victims

Before the New York City Marathon was cancelled, Julia Burke, a contributor to the website Atheist Hobos, knew she couldn’t run it in good conscience:

Julia Burke (Harry Scull Jr. – Buffalo News)

“I wouldn’t have felt good about running this race and being handed bottles of water and snacks at every stop when there are people who can’t even go to their own homes,” she said.

So she took the $500 she would have spent on the flight and rental car and donated it to charity instead. Awesome!

But… then she had another idea: Why not just run a marathon in her hometown of Buffalo instead? And get people to join her? And collect even more money for victims of the hurricane?

A plan formed: I’d run my 26.2 in Delaware Park on its Meadow Drive loop, so that runners of all abilities could join me for as many laps as they want. I’d accept Red Cross and Mayor’s Fund donations. To sweeten the pot, I’d round up my distance to an even 15 laps –– that’s half a mile longer than the standard marathon distance. I’d bring a water station, snacks, and maybe a fun sign or two so park bystanders would know they’re welcome to join me. We’d raise awareness and (I hope) a substantial amount of financial support for relief efforts, while doing something healthy and fun.

So far, the support from my friends and community has been amazing. If you’d like to jump in for a lap or two, cheer me on, heckle me, donate, or just join me for a post-run beer, check out the Facebook page for my run. I’ll be there from 8:00 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m., with my heart in NYC all the way.

More information on Julia’s run is here. She’s asking that people donate to either the Mayor’s Fund (which is the central hub of relief efforts) or the American Red Cross.

If you do donate, please let us know how much you gave in the comments below!

(Thanks to @many_miles_2_go for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://twitter.com/nicoleintrovert Nicole Introvert

    Awww as a runner and atheist I only wish I could be out there to support Julia!  What an amazing idea.  I was a very loud social media mouth in favor of NYRR cancelling the marathon. I may identify as both humanist and a runner, but the humanist side far outweighs the runner.

  • Drew M.

    I love this! Best of luck, Julia!


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