New York Road Runners Create and Give $1 Million to NYC Marathon Race to Recover Fund; Rudin Family, ING Give Another $1.6 Million

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$2.6 Million Going To Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort

by: Weldon Johnson
November 1, 2012

At a Friday press conference, the New York Road Runners announced that that they are creating and donating $1 million dollars to the 2012 ING New York City Marathon Race to Recover Fund to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. Long-time NYRR partner, the Rudin Family and its trusts, are also giving $1.1 million to the fund, and corporate sponsor ING is giving $500,000.

This year’s New York City marathon, unofficially no known as the “Race to Recover”, will take place on Sunday with no alterations to the fabled New York course. Of course there are some critics including a few city councilmen who do not think the race should take place at all so close to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The NYRR definitely is aware of the criticism, but ultimately said they trusted the city to decide whether the race should go on. George Hirsch, Chairman of the Board of the NYRR, said, “It’s a bold move that does not come without some controversy, but believe me if the city made the decision to cancel this race there would have been at least this (same amount of) controversy (from people saying the race should be held).”

A local news anchor asked NYRR head Mary Witternberg how the race could go on when people on the NYRR’s own facebook page where calling for it to be cancelled. (Seriously? That’s the level of conversation we now have in the media? People in prominent positions are going to get criticized no matter what they do. For example, no president in US history has ever received more than 61% of the vote – so basically no matter what you do at least 1/3rd of the people are going to disagree. Memo to the news anchor, there also is a Boycott NYC Marathon page).

Wittenberg said financially considerations for the NYRR never entered to the city’s thinking on whether to give approval for the race. She pointed out the NYRR has cancellation insurance and said, “the financial impact on the New York Road Runners was never in the decision.”

The NYRR is aware that not all entrants will be able to make it to New York for the race as a result of Hurricane Sandy. If they can’t run this year, they can get a guaranteed entry to next year’s race (they won’t get a refund and will have to pay for next year as well. The 5k on Saturday was cancelled and runners do not get refunds either).

Mary Wittenberg, Meb Keflizighi, and Miss Americas do not get refunds either).

Wittenberg acknowledged the viewpoints of those who think the race shouldn’t take place saying, “This is really tough stuff and it’s really hard in these moments to know what is best to do…we’re responding to what the city thinks is best to do now.”

Editor’s note: The NYRR is a current advertiser on

Full Press Release from NYRR below.

NEW YORK – Today, the New York Road Runners (NYRR) announced the creation of the “2012 ING New York City Marathon Race to Recover Fund” and that NYRR is donating at least $1 million, or $26.20 for each of the more than 40,000 runners expected to participate. Marathon Race to Recover will support a number of charities involved in the relief efforts including the Mayor’s Fund and the American Red Cross.

“New York Road Runners thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy,” said Mary Wittenberg, Chief Executive Officer of NYRR. “On Sunday, as runners cross through the five boroughs we want them to bring with them a sense of hope and resilience. The marathon is not just a race – it’s about helping NYC find its way down the road to recovery.”

Jack and Susan Rudin & the Rudin Family Foundations also announced a donation of $1.1 million and race title sponsor ING announced a $500,000 donation.

“As a founding member of the marathon, we are incredibly proud to be able to partner with NYRR’s club to support the Mayor‘s Fund disaster relief efforts for the city we love so much,” said Jack Rudin. “New York has always been my home and this is the right thing to do.”

Additionally, Paul Nicaj, owner of Pasha Events, one of the NYRR caterers, announced that he will be donating $26,200. Further partner donations will be announced in the coming days.

NYRR is encouraging all runners, families, friends and the organization’s 60,000 members to at least match the $26.20 per runner donation.

“All of the NYRR members are New Yorkers either by locale or in spirit and we hope that they’ll join in this effort to help New York get back on its feet,” said George Hirsch, Chairman of the NYRR Board.

To donate go to the Mayor’s Fund or to CrowdRise.

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