The Cornish Guardian
NEW YORK — U.K. firefighters participated in an impromptu marathon in New York's storm-ravaged Central Park after arriving hours before the cancellation of the official event.
They learnt shortly after landing that mayor Michael Bloomberg reversed his heavily criticised decision days earlier to allow it to go ahead.
Redruth firefighter Rob Hosking; Sacha Wheatman and Lee Griffin, from Truro, Stuart Parkyn, from Camborne, Scott Parkyn, from Fowey, Tim Jones, from Wadebridge, and Barclays banker Dave Brown flew from the UK on Friday.
Having received the bad news six hours later, Mr Hosking told the West Briton from Manhattan: "I felt pretty gutted at first but because we are firefighters we understood some things are much more important than running a marathon when people are without power, food and fuel."
On Saturday morning the men received confirmation that an alternative race, called Run Anyway New York City Marathon, would take place.
The 2,000 runners did four and a half laps of Central Park on Sunday, equalling a marathon distance of 26.2 miles. "It was really good even if we didn't get official timings as it was my first marathon and I finished it under four hours.
"We were pleased to be able to do it even if we had mixed emotions about running when people were so badly affected."
On Monday the crew aimed to join the city's police and fire departments in the major clean-up operation in the aftermath of Sandy, flying home on Tuesday.
"In Manhattan where we stayed there wasn't too much disruption but in Wall Street, for example, there is still millions of litres of water and the 9/11 memorial is also flooded.
"We spoke to one fire station and they had on Saturday night up to 36 calls when they normally get about 15."
The team raised £20,000 for the UK FireFighters' Charity.
Copyright 2012 Cornish Guardian
All Rights Reserved