Ambassador Becky Clark, PhD completes NYC Marathon with Bear
On November 4th one of our own ambassadors, Becky Clark, PhD., completed the New York City marathon with our mascot "Bear" strapped beneath her running "bib". We all salute you Becky!!! We hope to have a picture to show you soon and some more of Becky's words about the run she completed that day for the sake of abused kids all around the world. She stood and ran for her nation as a Survivor of child abuse herself, and demonstrated what the human spirit can accomplish even in the aftermath of such pain and abuse. In January she will oblige the Olympic Comittee by caring the Olympic torch in the cross-country torch-trek. See more details below. Our hats off to you Becky!!!
GOING THE DISTANCE...
Here are some of Becky's words about going the distance with Bear:
Recap: December 1 activities for NYC & L.A.:
NYC D/C kicked off early on Nov. 4 as Bear and I ran the NYC Marathon. Jeannie Krause, joined me as ambassador for NYC this year. While Bear and I ran the Marathon, Jeannie handed out mint green ribbons and talked with various spectators along the 5 borough course in New York City about Day of the Child and its mission. Bear and I had fun walking, running and talking with runners and spectators (about D/C) along the 26.2 mile course that began in Staten Island atop the Verrazano Bridge (we wore BIB number 14879).
Bear was so excited that we got to the NYC Public Library at 5:30 a.m. for the bus ride for runners to the bridge. We were among the first group to board the bus (and there were more buses than we could count awaiting for us)! Security was extra tight this year and there were even longer lines than the norm. As the bus made its way from the library in Manhattan to Staten Island (a good 20 minute ride), Bear and the other runners settled back in our seats to reflect on our 6 months of training and 9-11 events. Deafening silence pierced the air as the bus driver drove down the West Side Highway and around lower Manhattan where the Twin Towers once stood. Bear snuggled up next to me as my heart caught in my throat and tears welled in my eyes as we drove within eye sight of the World Trade Center, where only a massive lone crane stood high in the air. As we drove past lower Manhattan, every runner in the bus, mixture of American and foreigner runners, craned our necks to keep our eyes on the hole that was once the WTC, as if we didn't believe it was really gone, and expected the Twin Towers to rise up once again. Lady Liberty came into view from the NY Harbor as we left Manhattan and entered Brooklyn along the highway. What a glorious sight she was! None of us dared to utter a word. I noticed a few folks with tears rolling down their cheeks. As we arrived on the bridge and drove over to Staten Island, I noticed a heavy security detail in the harbor, on the bridge and around the holding area at Fort Wadsworth for the runners and volunteers.
It was 6 a.m. when we arrived at Ft. Wadsworth. There was nearly a 5 hour wait before the cannon would boom to start the race. We grabbed some juice, coffee and settled down inside an open tent erected for runners. We watched the other buses with excited runners arrive on the bridge for a little bit and then took a short nap. The rest of the time in the holding area was spent meeting runners from all over the USA and around the world. Most of the runners were decked out in red, white and blue colors (so were Bear and I!). Finally, the call to go to our color coded corral (green was our color) for the walk to the starting line on the bridge. Once there, there were 30,000 runners jammed packed on upper and lower levels of the bridge. Nearby, NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani, and other VIPsincluding lots of military and police security, took turns talking to all of us. There was a moment of silence in memory of those people who died in the9-11 terrorists' attacks, followed by a police officer singing GOD BLESSAMERICA, and then led everyone in singing the USA national anthem. There was not a dry eye on that bridge! The cannon boomed and 60,000 pair of feet took off running! Bear was secured in front of my belly and had a great view of the entire route!
The Verrazano Bridge spanned 2 miles before we entered into Brooklyn. Running over the bridge, we could see the Statue of Liberty but all eyes were trained on the lone crane suspended in air where the World Trade Twin Towers once stood. Again, I caught my breath as tears welled in my eyes as Bear and I continued our slow pace over the bridge. A deep sadness lingered but was tempered by the patriotism of runners and spectators all around us. As we turned off the bridge into Brooklyn for the next 11miles, spectators lined the route on both sides of the streets hollering and encouraging us forward. Children and adults alike were excited to see Bear and many called his name as we passed by them. There were a few firemen and policemen running in the marathon and a lot more lining the entire marathon route clapping and yelling our names to keep going! Some of the firemen were sitting high in a cherry picker waving American flags! It was just an awesome sight! It seemed that everyone in the race knew of someone who died in the 9-11 tragedy... what a close knit bunch this city was on this marathon day! At the half way point (13.1 miles), we enteredQueens for the next two miles, still cheered on by legions of spectators! As we exited the Queensborough Bridge into Manhattan, our spirits (and our legs) got a huge boost from crowds ten deep all the way down 1st Avenue, passing through various ethic neighborhoods (European, Latino,African-American) including the famous Harlem area in Upper Manhatten. There were plenty of water, gatorade, and power bars to keep our thirst quinched and our energy up. From Harlem, we entered the Bronx where we survived the famous WALL at mile 20...but Bear and I were well nourished and drank lots of liquids so we didn't hit the wall, we ran right through it knowing we had conquered it and had only 6.2 miles to go! We did not worry about time as we enjoyed talking to folks along the course, high-fiving adults and children of all religious and ethic backgrounds, and telling them about DAY OF THE CHILD. Everyone wanted a Bear of their own or had a bear story to share. Even a few told us of their own abuse as children and cheered us to the finish line. It was definitely a heartrending, exciting, emotional filled day in NYC! We finally raced back into Manhattan from the Bronx at about mile 21. At mile 23, we picked up our pace as we arrived on the famed 5th Avenue (also known as Museum Mile) and entered into Central Park for the last 5k of the marathon. By then, we had been walking/running a good long 5 plus hours, and were elated to be on the home stretch! There were even more people lined along the course in Central Park, still hollering and encouraging us to the finish line. A few held up home-made signs... one which said, "pain is just weakness leaving thebody". That one made me smile! By then, we only had 2 more miles to go and the sun was starting to set. Our goal was then to get to the finish line before dark which was a challenge given all the children and folks who wanted to high five Bear and talk a little bit which we obliged. Somee ven wanted to take pictures so we paused to smile through our exhaustion! Finally, at six hours, eleven minutes, Bear and I crossed over the FINISH LINE at Tavern on the Green in Central Park to the roar and waves of everyone! As I ran over the line, I held Bear's head high (he was tired!)with one hand and pumped my other hand in a fist over my head in exhilaration at what we accomplished for DAY OF THE CHILD! Tears spilled over as we were awarded our finisher's medal and a space blanket to keep us warm! Amazing feeling. Reminded me so much of the journey surviving childhood abuse. Sometimes throughout the years as a child, I thought I would never live to see the next day, to get by... but you know, my faith got me through. Just as my training, spectators and faith got us through the marathon. There were times I didn't think we would make it to the finish line because it was such a hard race...a long one...an emotional one...but then, Bear reminded me that this race was another part of our survival journey and that we DO make a difference in the lives of others like our ambassadors/volunteers do for abused children/survivors all over the world.
Bear and I would like to invite all of you to share in our victory...this medal belongs to each and every one of you! We salute you for going the distance! Although this year's 2001 Day of the Child took a back seat to the 9-11 events, please know that all of your work counts regardless of the interest it did or did not garner this year. In New York City and Los Angeles, where I am an ambassador for D/C, the work was more behind the scenes, passing out flyers, e-mailing people, talking to reporters, and running road races. We are already putting our energies into 2002 Day of the Child Celebration...and I encourage all of you to take heart in what you've donet his year and pour your energy into preparing for 2002.
Bear and I will return to NYC to run in the Runner's World New Year's Eve Midnight Race (4 miles) on Dec. 31. We also will run in the Washington, DC Marathon on March 24th. The Runner's World Race will kick off the new "Where's Bear" campaign to bring awareness of child abuse and adult survivors to the public in general. If you would like for us to run or walk (or speak) in your town/city, please send us an e-mail. On another note, I was selected and participated as an Olympic Torchbearer for the recent Winter Olympic Games. I will be running my segment of the Torch Relay on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 4:51 pm (pacific time) in Santa Maria, California. I am running on behalf of Day of the Child (altho' Olympic regulations will not permit Bear to run with me); he will definitely be nearby in spirit. I am sending out a press release regarding D/C and my Olympic Torch run. I will keep you abreast of any media coverage we are fortunate to get.
Congratulations to all the ambassadors and volunteers who participated in the recent Day of the Child campaign. Let's make 2003 our biggest year yet as we recognize and support ADULT SURVIVORS worldwide. Every effort goes a long way. Keep up the fantastic work! Bear and I are proud to be a part of a special group ofpeople. Keep the faith and keep movin'!
Take good care! Let me know if there's anything I can help you with as we turn our sights on 2003 D/C.
Becky Clark ('Dr. Becky')
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