As I sit on my flight home from New York City, I can’t help but feel awe from my experience at the TCS New York City Marathon. Every November, a team of passionate, dedicated and strong individuals gather together to commemorate the PKD community by running this world-renowned race. Not only do team members prepare for a 26.2 mile trek through the five boroughs, they also each commit to raising a minimum of $3,000 for the PKD Foundation. No small undertaking, to say the least.
As you might imagine, their journey to the finish line starts many months before “Marathon Sunday,” as the New Yorkers call it. The night before the race, I had a chance to visit with our runners at the team carb-loading pasta party, held at Carmine’s in Manhattan. Over the course of the meal, I heard countless stories of exactly what the training journey looks like. There’s the long training runs, which are typically more than 20 miles, and countless 4 and 5 a.m. wakeup calls. There are Saturday morning runs and Friday night runs along with lifestyle adjustments and sacrifices. There are multiple fundraising meetings, events, asks and phone calls. On average, each runner will complete more than 600 miles of training in preparation for Marathon Sunday and raise $4,500 for the PKD Foundation.
At the pasta party, I also found out the answer to this question. We invited each runner to share, if they were willing, why they run for PKD. Here are some of the reasons:
- Scott from Florida runs for his wife, Erika, who needs to either have a transplant or start dialysis by the end of the year.
- Rich, Kevin, Mike and Karen from Florida run in support of their friends, Scott and Erika.
- Rachael from Alaska runs in honor of the PKD patients she serves every day at her job as a nephrology nurse practitioner.
- Christine from New Jersey runs for her mom who passed away one year ago from PKD. As a PKD patient, she also runs for herself and for her newly diagnosed teenager.
- Morgan, a college student from Florida, runs for herself. Training is a form of therapy after her own PKD diagnosis in March.
- Kelly, a teacher from New York City, also runs for herself. In addition, she runs for her parents who joined her at the pasta party – her father has PKD and her mother was his donor.
- Patrick from New York City runs for his cousin, aunt and uncle – who happen to be Kelly and her parents.
I’m so happy to share that these reasons carried all of our runners successfully to the finish line. What fun it was to watch from the sidelines! We set up a PKD Foundation cheer section around the 17-mile marker and stayed busy tracking our runners. As I saw each member of our team pass by, I couldn’t help but feel so proud of what they have accomplished – both for PKD and for themselves. Go Team PKD! And, see you next year in the Big Apple.
To learn about Run for PKD opportunities, visit runforpkd.org