We have 16 amazing runners who have worked really, really hard for the past several months fundraising and training for the TCS NYC Marathon. Collectively to date they have raised $65,162 for Runwell to add to the addiction treatment scholarship fund! They'll be hitting the Big Apple this weekend to do what they've been preparing to do. Well, all but two, who unfortunately won't be able to run in the event due to last-minute injuries. But, as we all know, life isn't always convenient. We caught up with them, both top fundraisers, James Furey and Sandy Saccullo, to ask him a little about his experience, and that silver lining in his situation.
James: While training for the marathon, I tore part of my left gastrocnemius muscle (calf).
Sandy: I ran a half marathon a few weeks ago. My knee was hurting when I went out for a run a couple of days later. I was told to take some time off, ice, etc. I went back out for a run and within a half mile my knee was hurting again. The pain started running down my leg. I went to see a sports medicine dr, Jordan Metzl, a few days later. He said my knee was inflamed and while he could give me a shot of cortisone to help with the inflammation for the race on Sunday he said it would be a very painful experience and suggested I not run as I could cause further pain and risk and injury. He said my body was not ready to run the Marathon.
James: Simply put, I’ve learned that “life happens”. Throughout my training I went through experiences of accomplishment and frustration/joy and pain. In the past I feel as though I would have ignored the pain until it brought me to the ground. This time I sought help and direction. I made myself aware of what I set out to do; I made a decision to raise funds for addiction and mental illness and, with that, I was given the opportunity to run in the NYC Marathon. I learned that I have to train gradually and be smart with my running, stretch well and schedule specific training days.
Sandy: I was not a runner by any means. I was not sure I could run 3 miles let alone 10 plus. Training has been another experience in my life that has taught me if I commit to something and work hard I am putting myself in a position to achieve my goals. The willingness to show up and work hard, to the best of my ability, might not always get me the end results I want but it will get me closer to my goal from where I started. I think that goes for anything in life. Not just training.
James: I was blown away by the generosity of my family, friends and colleagues. I was continuously inspired throughout my training from the unexpected donations of those that are close, to not only myself, but to my family and friends. The fight against addiction is widespread and does not discriminate, thus impacting many, many people around me. An aspect that I did not expect, is that through my fundraising efforts, I feel that I have become closer to my own community. By reaching out, others who have been impacted by addiction or mental illness have returned my emails with their own personal stories. It just shows that no one should be alone in their struggles because so many of us have been affected ourselves.
Sandy: I have been so moved by the generosity of my family and friends. Knowing that people will be given a chance at a life in recovery because of all of our fundraising efforts is amazing.
James: Although disappointed, I am glad I’m able to continue raising awareness and raise funds for this cause despite my injury. I am unable to continue my training for 2-3 months, but I plan to slowly return to physical exercise. Throughout winter, I will make the effort to gradually build strength and endurance to begin my formal marathon training for the 2015 NYC Marathon in the spring. I remind myself that although I have had a setback in my goals, I will not allow my injury to erase the finish line completely. I will be patient through this process and get stronger day by day. Listening to my body is one of the bigger things I've learned. I can’t jump right back into training for the marathon regardless of my mental enthusiasm and motivation. Slow and steady wins the race… I’m fortunate that I have an automatic entry for next year’s marathon and intend to take full advantage!
Sandy: Right now my focus is on Sunday and cheering my teammates on! Once my knee is healed I hope to start running again.
Sandy: I pushed myself to do something I never thought I could do. The fact that I can go out to the park now and run 6, 8, 10 miles - with confidence - is absolutely incredible. My children, 5 and 7, have been cheering for me as my mileage grew (reminding me the whole time I should try for first place) - they are disappointed I am not running the marathon. It was a great opportunity for me to talk to them about working towards things in life, sometimes things go as we plan and sometimes they don't. How it's ok to feel disappointment and how to continue to move forward. Even if it's from the sidelines.
James: For those that struggle, there may be hiccups and obstacles along the way (just like my injury) but have faith in your recovery and in yourself. Don't give up on goals you’ve set out to do. As the cliché says, sometimes we learn more about ourselves from our journey than reaching our destination. For those who helped me in my fundraising efforts: donate today, donate tomorrow, donate after the marathon… every penny counts.
Below are the NYC runners, each with a link to their Runwell donor page if you're interested in supporting the cause. Just like James said, "donate today, donate tomorrow, donate after the marathon... every penny counts"!