I’m Erin Fleming, the associate director at Project A.L.S., and I am a member of Team Project A.L.S. for the ING New York City Marathon this year.
I am honored to join 21 other runners from around the world, who all trained and raised money for Project A.L.S., at the start line on Sunday, but I’m also terrified. Even though many people run marathons, as a first-timer, my thoughts about running for 26.2 miles straight have been a series of frantic pace calculations and increasingly bizarre nightmares about race day. A marathon is a difficult experience, a true test of mental and physical strength–until you compare it to the experiences of the people for whom we’re running. Running a marathon seems easier, for example, than being given a life threatening diagnosis and responding by founding the top-rated ALS research nonprofit in the country.
I think that’s the beauty of running a marathon for Project A.L.S. No matter how difficult the marathon might be, I’ll run with the full knowledge that if I had ALS, I wouldn’t be able to run a mile, or a step. I’ll run with a team who is honoring friends and family who have been stricken with ALS and who believe that every step taken is a step closer to a cure. I’ll run, knowing I’m lucky because I get to run and because the generous, caring Project A.L.S. family has supported my training emotionally and financially. I’ll run, aware that our efforts have raised nearly $50k for Project A.L.S. research, and that there is deeper meaning in this marathon and in all the training that has led up to it.
If you’re running or spectating on Sunday, look out for the Team Project A.L.S. logo on the course. It’s the strength of the Project A.L.S. community that’s gotten us this far, and it’s what will carry us over the finish line.