Sandy douses Burton runner's hopes for New York City marathon

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Sandy douses Burton runner's hopes for New York City marathon

Published Saturday, November 3, 2012   |  478 Words  |  

After cobbling together travel plans through three canceled flights in two days, Burton's Stacy Atkinson finally made it New York City Friday night.

She was only steps away from the New York City Marathon headquarters in Manhattan when her phone blew up with calls and texts from family and friends.

The marathon -- a race she'd been training hard for since March -- had been called off.

Although the decision wasn't completely unexpected in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision came only 35 hours before the start of the race. He had said the day before that the race would go on as scheduled, calling it a testament to the city's resilience. In the end, though, critics forced the mayor to reconsider, saying the marathon would divert desperately needed resources from storm victims.

"I completely support the decision to cancel the race," Atkinson said Saturday.

That doesn't mean she wasn't disappointed.

"There's a side of the argument that says we're strong, and it was going to be iconic," she said. "We should run now especially with these heavy hearts."

Atkinson, 27, grew up in New York City. She joined the Marine Corps at 20. Later, she worked as a teacher at Shell Point Elementary School. She currently is an early education teacher at the Technical College of the Lowcountry.

A runner during her time in the Corps, she gave it up for a while before taking it up again in October 2011 with an eye on running in her hometown marathon.

She began her serious training in March. Her goal: raise money for YAI Network, a charity benefiting disabled adults.

Along with running hundreds of miles in preparation, Atkinson raised $3,000 for the charity and paid a $255 marathon entry fee. Her donation will still be made, and all this year's runners are automatically qualified for next year's race.

Today -- the day the marathon had been scheduled to step off -- will find Atkinson with her parents, her husband and their 3-year-old daughter in Brooklyn.

She'd rather be running the New York race.

"My heart wanted to do it here, but it was completely out of my control," she said.

When the race was canceled Friday, she considered, for a brief moment, packing it in , saying goodbye to the long, grueling hours of training.

That feeling didn't last.

That same day, she signed up for the Kiawa Marathon in Charleston, scheduled for Dec. 8.

Follow reporter Anne Christnovich

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