Many runners who had planned to participate in the canceled New York City marathon Sunday are now volunteering in the hurricane relief effort. NY1’s Polly Kreisman filed the following report.
Sunday's morning ferries brought about 1,300 would-be marathon runners to Staten Island as they geared up to bring supplies and other aid to distressed residents.
"I was supposed to run the marathon so I figured this was the best that I could do is run stuff back and forth to donation centers," one marathoner-turned-volunteer said.
It may not have been the 26.2 miles they trained for, but runners took off from St. George to Millers Field in New Dorp, carrying backpacks and bags to meet with many more volunteers boxing up supplies.
"There was a perception runners are selfish," said one volunteer. "That they were not listening to the needs of people around them. And that really bothered me because there is no bigger group of people that give to others that I know of."
Often runners participate in races to raise money for charities, but on Sunday, they were seen moving furniture and carrying provisions into the devastated community of Cedar Grove.
One man placed American flags in front of destroyed homes, reinforcing the idea that all the volunteers -- marathoners and others -- were spreading: a sense of unity.
"The reason we run the NYC marathon is because of the people and the crowds and the energy of the crowds," a volunteer said. "We wanted to come and give back to the people of Staten Island and let them know that they're not forgotten.
It may be years before some of these neighborhoods completely rebuild, but residents are sure to remember those who used their legs and their hearts to get people back on their feet.