Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Runners Finish Their Recovery from Sandy

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Runners Finish Their Recovery from Sandy

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The streets were eerily dark and empty.

There was no power. Entire neighborhoods were under water. And for eight long nights, Steve Schiff trekked back to his Hoboken home from a friend's house in uncomfortable darkness after Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of New Jersey.

But as the runner finished Sunday's New York City Marathon in a personal-best 4:07:03, he was able to put that troublesome period one year ago behind him.

"It was just like zombie-land," Schiff said of Hoboken in the chaotic days after the storm. "It had a very depressing feel to it. You go that long without power and with the streets flooded and you wonder, 'When are we going to get back to normal?'

"But today was coming full circle."

That was a shared experience for many North Jersey marathoners as they ran the 26.2-mile course snaking through the five boroughs. Sunday's marathon was the first since Sandy forced the cancellation of last year's event. It also was the first since twin bombs left near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April killed three and injured more than 260.

"It was a good feeling to bring this back to the city," said Haworth's Geoffrey Stern, who ran his sixth marathon in 3:26:00. "I think it did a world of good for a lot of people. I felt it and saw it."

Hawthorne's Wendy Kerr felt it too. She finished her 13th marathon -- her sixth in New York -- in a personal-best 3:32.37.

"I thought last year would be my last New York Marathon because I am getting older and it's getting harder to [train]," said the supervisor of Kearny High School's life skills department and an adjunct professor at Montclair State. "Life away from running is busy and stressful. Today, I just felt happy to be running in the city again."

It was visible on the faces of runners as they crossed the finish line and when they received their medals. It also was visible on the faces of family and friends as they streamed down Manhattan's gridlocked sidewalks hours later accompanying exhausted runners clad in bright orange coats handed out after the race. …

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