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Fairfield County Runners Understand Decision To Cancel Marathon

Greenwich's Sharon Vos has won her age group at the New York City Marathon for the last three years. She supports the decision to cancel this year's race.
Greenwich's Sharon Vos has won her age group at the New York City Marathon for the last three years. She supports the decision to cancel this year's race. Photo Credit: Jim Gerweck

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Greenwich’s Emmy Stocker and Sharon Vos and New Canaan’s Alicia O’Neill have long relationships with the ING New York City Marathon. Each had different objectives at Sunday’s race and different outlooks when it was canceled late Friday afternoon.

Sunday’s race was to be the 25th and final one for Stocker, who finished last year in 3:45:06.

"I am sad,’’ Stocker said. “It is my favorite race, and I paid close to $300 to run it.  But runners will forget about it and survive.  It is truly the right thing to do.”

Stocker thought logistics made it too hard to hold the race.

“When I went to a friend's house and watched the news and saw how devastated Staten Island and Queens and Brooklyn were, I thought how can they divert resources to a road race when people are in shelters and have lost their homes?'' Stocker said. "Plus, there are no ferries so it would be a 10-mile traffic jam just trying to get to the start.”

O’Neill, manager of endurance events for the Norwalk-based Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation , came away from Friday’s decision inspired by the runners who remained committed to the cause. Nearly 130 runners had raised money for the group, including several from overseas.

“Half of them will be going to volunteer at the relief effort, and the other half of them will still run somewhere in New York,’’ O’Neill said. “I’m proud to be involved with these incredible people. I had a cancer patient email me and say, 'Cancer doesn’t stop for hurricanes, and I hope you guys don’t, either.'”

Runners raised nearly $500,000 for the foundation, and O’Neill said they were planning to hold a “thank you party” Saturday night. The night had been planned as a pre-race party.

“We’re the ones driving the bus to find a cure for cancer,'' O'Neill said. "I’m proud the runners have stayed committed to it. The human spirit can be pretty inspiring.”

Vos has won her age group five times in New York, including the last three years. She was looking forward to having another shot on Sunday.

“Training for a marathon requires such a commitment and it's so unfortunate when you can't run your goal race,'' said Vos, who has run the race 11 times. "However, my heart particularly goes out to the people who have suffered so terribly from Hurricane Sandy.  I have been without power since the storm but have no damage and can only imagine how difficult it is for people in areas harder hit than mine."

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