TEAM USO Readies for NYC Marathon, Offers Spots to Runners for Popular Run
Friday, November 04, 2011
By Joseph Andrew Lee
Because of its worldwide popularity, getting guaranteed entry into the ING New York City Marathon isn’t easy. Only a small percentage of the approximately 40,000 runners who gain entry are guaranteed a spot. To qualify for a guaranteed spot, runners need to have run 15 or more New York City Marathons or be a member of New York Road Runners who have completed nine qualifying races as well as volunteered for one event and donated $1,000 to the NYRR. The rest of the field is chosen largely by lottery.
But there is another way.
Runners can raise money for the troops and get a guaranteed spot running for TEAM USO.
“I tried to get in the lottery but I wasn’t selected,” said Christine Cherry, who will be running her first marathon ever Sunday with TEAM USO. “So I looked at the charity page and when I saw the USO it just seemed too perfect. ‘Of course I’ll raise money for the USO,’ I thought. How awesome is that?!”
Cherry, a West Palm Beach, Fla. native, is married to an Army officer who is currently deployed to Afghanistan. She found it “really easy” to raise the required $2,500 to join the team. She has reached $3,300 and she is still receiving donations just days from the race.
“I took my Christmas list and I made a Shutterfly card with a picture of my family with my husband in uniform,” Cherry said. “And I sent it out as a ‘Cherry Family Update,’ informing them that my daughter graduated kindergarten, my husband left for Afghanistan and I was training for a marathon – running for the USO! I simply asked that if anyone wanted to send a donation, they could and it would go straight to the USO. The checks just keep coming!”
Army veteran Kyle McCoy has been eating marathons for breakfast. He lives in the Pacific Northwest, and loves running so much that he’s developed a taste for the longer, 50- and even 100-mile runs. On Sunday, his bacon and eggs will be the ING New York City Marathon.
McCoy said: “This year I set two goals for myself: To raise over $3,500 for the USO and to beat my best time of 02:54:00.”
For McCoy – who has run between 20 and 30 marathons since his first NYC Marathon in 2007 – it’s less about the nostalgia and more about beating his time. After running such long races at a slower pace, he believes his greatest challenge will be keeping his pace up.
“The New York marathon is my favorite course, so I’m excited to run it again Sunday,” said McCoy who is a former Army Ranger and veteran of four tours in Afghanistan. “This summer I did my first 100-miler, the Cascade Crest, and when you’re running that long of a distance, you really have to take it slow, so my biggest challenge is going to be picking up my pace so that I can beat my time.”
McCoy and Cherry are just two of the 31 TEAM USO runners that have raised nearly $75,000 for troops and their families.
To learn more about these motivated volunteer runners or about how you can join TEAM USO in a future race, navigate to the TEAM USO website.
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Photo caption: Runners for TEAM USO join for a group photo on Nov. 6, 2010. The night before they ran the 2010 ING New York City Marathon. (Credit: Joseph Andrew Lee / USO)
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