Runners in the Staten Island Half-Marathon warmed up Sunday for a bigger race down the line, all while helping to give Staten Islanders some kudos at the same time. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
Almost a year after the ING New York City Marathon was canceled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, runners once again gathered at the starting line in St. George. For many, the borough's annual half marathon is a warm up to the big race.
"This is a great way to test your fitness a few weeks before and also come out and see Staten Island," said one runner.
A pack of some 9,000 runners, including a few from NY1, pounded 13.1 miles of pavement. For many, the roads are also paved with reminders of the storm.
"There are still hundreds of New Yorkers that remain homeless and we need to do a good job of getting them back into their houses and rebuilding their lives," said race winner Michael Cassidy.
"Training for this half marathon I always run past Father Capodanno Boulevard, past construction and just knowing today is going to help that cause makes me feel good," said another runner.
The New York Road Runners is donating the proceeds of this race to help in the rebuilding effort, a guaranteed minimum of $100,000.
"At the very start of the year our eyes were on what can we do for Staten Island and we chose the best way to kick off the 2013 marathon would be a big celebration and point of raising money," said New York Road Runners President and CEO Mary Wittenberg.
The result of the Road Runners' effort was a finish line festival dubbed Staten Island Day. The free event offered lots of fun for families while food trucks provided a chance to do a little post run carbo-loading.
Running was not just limited to the course. Kids also had a chance to run around the home field of the Staten Island Yankees with games guaranteed to hit the mark.
There was also a 1.5 mile fun run that even the little legs could tackle.
And while a marathon may be a long way off for the young runners, those signed up for the big race are now just three weeks away.
"Everyone wants to be back and have a great day and celebrate the best of the city so looking forward to it," Wittenberg said.
The 2013 ING New York City Marathon steps off on November 3.