Seizing the Moments
former Director of Constituent Events
On an overcast morning in November, before the sun even came up, over 60 runners were making their way towards Union Square for what would be an epic day, running in the TCS NYC Marathon. They were worried about the potential for rain, whether they had packed enough layers, and if all their training had truly prepared them for race day. They had all the normal doubts that 50,000 of their fellow runners had as the dawn of the biggest marathon in the world was upon them. But they also had something else. As past and current caregivers, they knew that simply pressing forward was a reward in itself.The 2017 TCS NYC Marathon Athletes to End Alzheimer’s team raised over $250,000 to support CaringKind’s programs and services which directly benefit individuals affected by Alzheimer’s or other dementias. From Union Square, they left on team buses destined for stop one of their epic five borough journey: Staten Island. The excitement was palpable for all the runners in the start village. And, as appropriate, the beginning of such a grand race commenced with a grand challenge in the Verrazano bridge. From there, it was a jaunt through the diverse neighborhoods of cheering fans in Brooklyn before powering through Queens. And before Manhattan was quite on the horizon, for most of our runners, the skies opened up to rain, giving them an unintentional cool down.
What happened next were several grueling miles in rain and drizzle that required equal parts grit and determination. After crossing the 59th Street Bridge, many runners were greeted by cheer sections of families, friends and strangers alike, who helped them overcome the hurdle, often with a well-placed hug, cheer, snack or high-five. From there, they only had a brief foray into the Bronx, before concluding their run in Central Park, where many had already pounded out dozens of miles over the several months of training.
And while the rain only let up slightly, they were still able to finish because their journey to complete the TCS NYC Marathon started far before race morning. It began when they started training in June at the first balmy team practice. Or perhaps before that, when they first completed their application to run for THIS cause and add meaning to their miles. Or even before that, when they first encountered Alzheimer’s disease and knew that theirs were the voices and bodies that would carry this cause forward, often for those who couldn’t do it themselves.
Yes, the race conditions of this year’s marathon were not ideal, but for the runners on the Athletes to End Alzheimer’s team, many had already been faced with not quite ideal circumstances. Some were running in memory of loved ones lost to Alzheimer’s or dementia. Some, after completing the marathon, were returning home to another marathon in the form of caring for someone with a diagnosis. But no matter what first tied them to the cause, all knew the value of seizing the moment, both small and large.
On Sunday, November 5, 2017, they all finished as marathoners, seizing a large moment. But even more, in those smaller moments, like when they reconnected with friends who became supporters, or raised awareness of the cause over social media, or maybe passed on CaringKind’s 24-hour helpline number (646-744-2929) to a stranger who had been at wit’s end, they were able to seize something just as important. And they did so, knowing that when they crossed the finish line in November, they had made an indelible mark on the efforts to further both the care and cure for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Congratulations runners!