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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Atlanta runner’s New York City Marathon plans halted

This long story ends happily for Meg Flynn

This long story ends happily for Meg Flynn

Atlanta runner Meg Flynn finished the New York City Marathon in 125 minutes.

Sort of.

Flynn was excited to embark on her first New York City Marathon – her first marathon, period, in fact. When NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg initially stated the massive event would proceed despite criticism that the timing was terrible, given his region’s post-hurricane shape, Flynn headed north.

You can guess how this story ends.

“Landed in NYC around 4:30 p.m.,” Flynn told us on Friday. “Super excited.”

That didn’t last.

During a bus ride into the city, she got a text. It looked like the marathon would be called off after all. Flynn had a “mini freak out” and was fighting back tears among strangers on the crowded bus.

Her plaintive post to her Facebook wall at the time: “Just landed in NYC and hearing rumors that the race is cancelled. Please tell me they’re just rumors?”

Then her phone rang. Some friends were in Savannah for Saturday’s “Rock n Roll Marathon.

Plan B worked out!

Plan B worked out!

“Within 15 minutes, they had me booked on an 8:30 p.m. flight to Savannah. And registered for the race,” Flynn said. She got back on the bus and headed back to the airport just in time for a food-court meal to carb up.

“Welp, NYC, that was a nice 125-minute visit,” she posted.

In a message to us Flynn said she felt relieved despite her scuttled plans.

“I have spent $21 on bottled water in the past 12 hours in three airports,” she said. “But, I am feeling lucky. Other people on my bus to Grand Central had just landed from Dublin and Alberta. It was their big trip of the year! Another mom and daughter pair who got off their flights met and went straight back home to Charlotte and Boston.”

And of course her thoughts are with all the residents who are still dealing with power outages, damaged or destroyed homes or worse. Here’s a gallery of photos showing the havoc wrought by Superstorm Sandy.

Afterward Flynn messaged us from Savannah with a message of gratitude.

“Within 20 minutes of the cancellation, they had me booked on a flight to Savannah and registered for the Savannah race,” she said of her pals. “Picked me up at the airport at 11:30 p.m., just 8 and a half hours before their own race started,” said Flynn.

She played “New York, New York” and “New York State of Mind” on her iPod during the Savannah race in tribute to the folks up north.

18 comments Add your comment

Bobloblaww

November 3rd, 2012
10:21 am

Tears? Really? Please get some perspective!!

Amanda

November 3rd, 2012
11:24 am

This makes you sound incredibly selfish. If other New Yorkers read this. Ones that lost everything they have. Just very selfish.

Katie

November 3rd, 2012
12:44 pm

Yeah, you really suffered walking through airports with a suitcase. I’m sure the people in Staten Island feel for your plight.

Shannon Stroppel

November 3rd, 2012
12:46 pm

ENOUGH people! This girl did not decide to keep the marathon on. She’s just a girl who trained all year for a marathon and was VERY disappointed Bloomberg didn’t make the call to cancel it like he should have Monday.As a New Yorker, I raise my glass to this strong young woman and say WAY TO STAY STRONG AND PERSEVERE!

Katie

November 3rd, 2012
12:49 pm

@Shannon, no she didn’t. But complaining that she had to walk around the airport in boots is incredibly insensitive.

Geo

November 3rd, 2012
1:01 pm

Obviously those making claims about Meg being selfish don’t know her. She’s one of the most unselfish people you would ever know. She is expressing her disappointment in not being able to fulfill a dream. Lighten up!

Shannon Stroppel

November 3rd, 2012
1:04 pm

@ Katie So, she saves 600$ to fly to NY and run a marathon that was cancelled 10 minutes after she got there, had to spend 350$ to fly back south 125 minutes later and she is not allowed to be honest about this debacle. Again, as a New Yorker who has a house with no power and damage, I still cheer this girl on.

Jenn

November 3rd, 2012
2:22 pm

@ Katie. I just lived through Sandy on the south shore of Long Island.
I’ve been without power, heat, and gas for a week, yet I don’t feel like attacking a kid trying to fulfill a dream. If you choose to show your anger, it might be more appropriately placed on our good mayor and the NYRR organization.
The only insensitive thing I’ve seen is bloombergs inability to cancel the marathon in a timely manner, and your comments.

And another thing...

November 3rd, 2012
4:06 pm

Shannon, kudos to you, in the midst of all the #sandy tragedy, to be so positive and supportive of Meg,
thank you. You are a good person. I’m sure you as well as many others wonder what is wrong with people who feel they have to be so negative and insensitive about everything.

Deena Reiprecht

November 3rd, 2012
5:10 pm

This is exactly whats wrong with today’s society, things get so misconstrued. Bloomberg made a poor choice keeping the marathon on schedule. Meg was simply going along with the plan. The untimely manner at which it was called off was completely ridiculous. As a human being dissapointment is the normal response. It was obvious Meg was venting and using a play on words to state how she was feeling in the moment. In no way did I feel her comments lessened the horrible tragedy that took place by Sandy. So instead of lashing out, why not use that energy towards the victims that are in need. Good luck to you Meg!

Deena R.

November 3rd, 2012
6:43 pm

This is a exactly wrong with today’s society. People are constantly lashing out and putting criticism in the wrong place. Bloomberg made a poor choice in going ahead with the race. The manner in which it was canceled was ridiculous. Of course it is only human nature to feel disappointed when something that you worked so hard for is taken away. In no way did I feel Meg was dismissing the major tragedy done by Sandy. It was obvious that Meg was in the moment venting and putting a play on words. So instead of using all that energy on being negative and misconstruing a situation, put to use on the victims that are in need. Good luck to you Meg!

KIM

November 4th, 2012
10:29 am

Sorry, no sympathy here for the girl referenced in the article. Bloomberg waited long, way too long to make the decision. It should have been a no brainer the first day. Actually, when I think about it, the girl should be more than ashamed of herself. What are we becomming??? Insisitive to tragedy? I pray not.

Mandy

November 4th, 2012
11:53 am

I feel for you, and thanks for sharing. It reminded people of how much everyone is affected by things that happen to others – how connected we all are. Too those people jumping on this woman for crying, her emotions are her own, and in reading the article, my guess is that was disappointment that something she had planned on that is really fun for her was canceled. There’s nothing selfish about that, and I doubt it would upset NJ or NY people, cause I know there were plenty of them who were also disappointed that the marathon had to be canceled. For many New Yorkers, it’s a yearly favorite. This storm was a downer for a lot of people.
It’s not really a great idea to judge someone’s motives without knowing what they were. Empathize with someone else and you’ll find when you need someone to understand, they’re more likely to.
In some ways, continuing with the NY Marathon would have given people a sense of normalcy, but I think one of the big reasons it was canceled is because of the city personnel that would have been needed to run it, and they were needed elsewhere for storm recovery efforts, search and rescue, etc.

Holly

November 4th, 2012
11:56 am

Oh, what a tragedy. Poor girl, her boots and “Vera Bradley” bag. I have friends who lost everything they own. No boots or bags for them! This is the exact moment “no comment” is the right thing to say to the local news.

HAGS

November 4th, 2012
12:28 pm

I am a New Yorker, I ran the NYC marathon, and I know Meg. All three of these have one thing in common, you come away feelilng better because you had the chance to live there, experience it, and meet her. This story shows her resolve, determination, and positive outlook when faced with a challenge. This story in no way diminshes the plight of those affected by Sandy, nor is it comparing the two.

Meg Flynn

November 4th, 2012
8:29 pm

Hi there. First and foremost, sincere thanks to those who took the time to share positive words. To everyone else, I understand how you may read the blog post and think of the girl with the boots and the Vera Bradley bag as insensitive, selfish and all of the other negative adjectives used above. For context, I was asked to share details about “my NY marathon tale.” A tale that I viewed–and still view–as a story of the good of humanity and an attempt to make the best of a trying situation.

I grew up in South Florida and lived through more hurricanes and menacing tropical storms than most will hear about in a lifetime. My family’s home endured significant damage in Hurricane Andrew in ‘92, and most of my grade school friends are children of families who fled Miami and Hallendale after losing everything in that storm. Some of my best friends and extended family members are among Sandy’s hardest-hit victims. I also work in a non-profit environment that–every day–reminds me of the good fortune I’ve been dealt. Good fortune that has nothing to do with boots or girlie luggage. 

What you don’t read in the blog post is that I flew to New York with a heavy heart. When I awoke Tuesday morning and saw the gravity of destruction on the news, I planned to cancel the trip. But, after encouraging conversations with residents of the tri-state area and passionate remarks from government officials stating the race would provide a positive boost to the economy and serve as a visual reminder of the resiliency of the city and its people, the race became much more than a personal accomplishment. With friends and co-workers running the Savannah marathon/half marathon that weekend, it would have been easy to redirect plans and head to Savannah on Friday. But, given remarks from the race director and city leadership encouraging runners to persevere, I was grateful for the opportunity to use my running of the race to fundraise for victims and show support for the city. Given that mindset, I teared up upon landing at LaGuardia, fully aware of its condition just 72 hours prior.

Thirty minutes later, I teared up again upon learning of the race’s cancellation. Were those tears of pity for myself? Partially, yes. After five months of getting up before dawn five days a week to physically push my body further than it’s ever been pushed before, part of me was disappointed to not be able to fulfill a dream. Does that mean I wasn’t also fully cognizant of and compassionate for the devastation felt by the victims of the storm? Absolutely not.

Gratefully for me, the kindness and quick actions of friends made my experience a positive one. Selfless friends made personal sacrifices to get me to both the starting and finish lines in Georgia. And, the people I met in the 125 minutes spent in NYC–international runners who had traveled much farther than me and local New Yorkers alike–offered kinship and kindness like I’d never before experienced. 

My “marathon tale” pales in comparison to the loss of life and destruction caused by Sandy. I thank my Irish stars that my story’s ending is far more positive than that of the other 40,000 (estimated) runners who made it to NYC before the race was canceled–not to mention the race victims.

My seemingly flippant comments about an Atlanta-to-Savannah journey by way of NYC were meant to lighten a dark situation–one enlightened and punctuated by the kindness of people.

KIM

November 5th, 2012
5:38 pm

Meg, you should have just been quiet about it all.

Kat

November 6th, 2012
10:35 am

There is a great story on cnn.com about the marathoners who started the race and carried pounds and pounds of supplies with them to give to people in the hardest hit areas up there. They also helped people clean out their houses. At the end, they went to the “FINISH” line and took photos. Those are great people.

And then there is this woman…well, at least she got to show off her boots and such at more than one airport and not waste her new matchy-matchy outfit. Real class would have been someone who said, “Um…I don’t think we should do an article on me (per se) because there are thousands of people who need to have the focus on them…but as long as you are here, let me tell you a few things…”

Her story (and excuses) ring hollow…