To most people March 8, 2016 was just another date on the calendar. For the 82,172 people who entered the lottery to run the NYC Marathon this year, March 8th was Selection Day. 19,083 runners won a spot in the NYC Marathon. Unfortunately, I was not one of them. Outside of the lottery, there are several ways to gain entry into the largest marathon in the world. If you are super speedy, you can qualify for the marathon based on your finish time in another race.  You can gain automatic entry by having run the race 15 times in the past. New York Road Runners (NYRR) offers a 9+1 program where you run 9 NYRR races and volunteer at 1 race in the previous year to guarantee a spot. Or you can run for charity. Which is what I’ve decided to do.

I have previously run the NYC Marathon for charity. My mother, who had been my biggest running fan, died unexpectedly at Christmas in 2012. A few months later the Boston Marathon bombing occurred. The combination of the two tragedies convinced me that 2013 was the year for me to run in the NYC Marathon. I wanted to run for my hospital – Montefiore Medical Center – but they didn’t have a running team…yet. I decided to run for Team for Kids, a great charity that helps children get and stay healthy through running. Besides the obvious advantage of helping children, running with Team for Kids offered several benefits. As the official charity partner of the NYRR, Team for Kids had convenient bussing to the start line and a large tent in the starting area – not insignificant for someone starting in the last wave who would be sitting in the starting area on Staten Island for hours.

Last year I was invited to join the newly formed Champions for CHAM, the running team started to support my hospital. CHAM stands for the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, an amazing institution that I’ve called home for almost 9 years. Unfortunately my life wasn’t in a place where I could commit to training for a full marathon. This year my boyfriend and I both entered the lottery, mostly in solidarity with a dear friend who had committed to running NYC for charity. We were both shocked when he won a lottery spot in the marathon. At that moment we both agreed that I would reach out to the Champions for CHAM team and see if I could join them. I consider myself lucky to be running for a charity that means so much to me. In addition to training to run 26.2 miles, I will be adding meaning to my miles by raising a minimum of $3000 for a great children’s hospital. I am so excited to begin this endeavor.

In upcoming posts I will be sharing the great training debate, updating on my training and fundraising, and talking a bit about why I love working at CHAM in the Bronx. I also hope you’ll consider donating to a great cause. Even $5 can help!