People have all sorts of reasons for running a big race like the New York City Half Marathon. But this Sunday, one team of athletes will dedicate their 13.1 miles to the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF).
NHF, based in New York, is among the official charities associated with the race and its 14 runners all share a connection to bleeding disorders community.
“Together, they represent the best of our community; passionate, dedicated, tough and willing to take on new challenges,” said Val D. Bias, CEO of the National Hemophilia Foundation.
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Some runners have hemophilia, such as New Yorker George Skrapits, born with severe hemophilia A. He’s aiming to complete Sunday’s half-marathon and then train for the full New York City Marathon. Neal Dannenberg, who has mild hemophilia A, brings great experience to this weekend’s race. He’s already completed seven full marathons and hopes to finish Sunday’s half in less than 1 hour and 50 minutes. High school senior Zach Oatley, of Ohio, is the team’s youngest member and is an accomplished track and cross-country athlete. Oatley, who has hemophilia B, wants to place in the top 10 for his age group in the half-marathon and aspires to become a hematologist.
For other runners, a family bond ties them to the bleeding disorders community. Runners Chrissy Holt of Maryland and Leigh Langley of Oklahoma are mothers of sons who have hemophilia and Langley’s brother also has hemophilia. Rhielle Widders of Utah will run in support of her two younger sisters who have von Willebrand disease. Brooklyn resident Nicole Kaes’s husband has hemophilia, so she’s running to raise awareness for a sometimes-invisible disease.
Mark Ince of Texas will run in memory of his father, who lived a long life despite having hemophilia. Julie Tarr of Indianapolis gets the award for going the extra mile. She’s running the half-marathon and she’s been donating blood, platelets and plasma for more than 20 years in support of her godson, Lucas, who along with his brother, has severe hemophilia A.
Other runners on the NHF team are connected to the bleeding disorders community through the work they do. The team includes a pharmacy director, Michael Altese of Michigan, as well as members of the NHF staff.
The team page shows the group has exceeded its $25,000 fundraising goal.
The NHF team members will join a crowded field – an estimated 25,000 runners are expected to pour through the New York streets on Sunday morning. The 13.1-mile route will take them on a running tour of the iconic city – from Prospect Park in Brooklyn, across the Manhattan Bridge, up FDR Drive, then into Midtown and Times Square before ultimately finishing in Central Park. New York Road Runners, as well as several New York television stations, will be following the race on social media. The half-marathon starts at 7:10 Sunday with the wheelchair division.