James Marr will be among the 13 participants supporting Catholic Charities who will run in the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon Nov. 7. He will run in support of the St. Nicholas Project, a Catholic Charities of New York Christmas season program that provides over a thousand New York families with warm winter essentials.
This is my second time running with Team Catholic Charities and I really enjoy it. For me Catholic Charities New York is a charity that emphasizes four themes I have experienced from the City of New York and the Marathon itself: faith, hope, perseverance and gratitude.
Catholic Charities always emphasizes hope as key to overcoming adversity. I can recall first moving to New York and feeling completely overwhelmed as I looked at a subway map for the first time. The complexity of the city could be overwhelming without a positive spirit of hope.
The marathon race itself is memorable and requires quite a bit of faith to complete. In some ways, the trip to the starting line requires even more faith. I recall my first marathon, getting on the buses destined for the starting line. The skyline of midtown Manhattan became smaller and smaller in the rear-view window. It was a test of faith as one wondered “Can I really run all the way back?”
I think of perseverance at Mile 20 of the Marathon, where there seems to invariably be a spectator holding up a sign reading “You paid to do this?” I chuckled when I saw this because it is both funny and further highlights the phrase “it is always darkest before the dawn.”
There is a lot of gratitude associated with the Marathon: gratitude for all the opportunities that NYC offers to people, gratitude for the blessing of being able to participate in such an event and gratitude to all the wonderful charities such as Catholic Charities who are working even longer and harder than the runners themselves.