Atheist Julia Burke is the runner who decided before the New York City Marathon was canceled that she couldn’t participate in good conscience:
“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.
Burke took the $500 she would have spent on the flight and rental car and donated it to charity. Then she decided to run a marathon, anyway, in her hometown of Buffalo… and word spread.
According to a press release, she was eventually joined by over 200 runners and 50 spectators (a few of whom you can see below):
Ultimately, the event raised $4,200 for the Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy response.
Equally amazing was the outpouring of support from local businesses and individuals:
… FedEx printed makeshift runners’ bibs, designed by a participant, for free; Pasteurized Tees waived fees for special “Buffalo Loves NY” custom t-shirts; wine retailers Salut and City Wine Merchant each donated celebratory wine for an after-party; Team LUNA Chix of Buffalo donated LUNA protein bars; and Mike Shatzel, owner of Cole’s and Blue Monk, pledged $10 per mile from each restaurant to Burke’s cause. State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt kicked off the run with a special message from Governor Andrew Cuomo, thanking Western New York for its show of solidarity and generosity.