By Brian Lichterman | Sports Editor
A week from Sunday, New York City will host thousands of participants for the 41st annual New York City Marathon.
Newport Beach’s Carrie Zimmerman, a driven single mother, will be competing, following knee surgery this spring. Brandi Franson Gill of Newport Coast will run with her, as well.
Brandi and Carrie both belong to Equinox Health Club in Newport Beach, which is also where they met for the first time. They quickly became friends and in Carrie’s words, “Brandi has been my ‘running partner’ and has inspired me to fight this good fight despite my setback.”
The New York City Marathon is a major marathon with a course running through all five boroughs of the city to the standard length of 26.2 miles. In last year’s race more than 46,000 runners finished. Costs range from an individual commitment of $500 to team and charity fundraising goals into the millions.
To run with a charity team, a runner must meet a larger goal, which usually has a personal connection tied to it. For Brandi and Carrie, it’s a charity for cancer, Fred’s Team. Carrie and both of her parents have been treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Brandi is running on the team with the emphasis of her support on pediatric cancer research. The team has attracted thousands of runners over the years that raise money by participating in marathons in New York, Chicago and Boston.
Fred’s Team is named in honor of Fred Lebow, a runner and co-founder of the New York City Marathon. He continued to run following his own diagnosis of cancer and even jogged up and down the halls of t Sloan-Kettering during his treatment in 1991. He ran his last marathon the following year, but Fred’s Team became official and has expanded in raising money to honor the memory of Fred Lebow who dared to “Imagine a world without cancer.”
Zimmerman said: “Sloan Kettering is a place that is near and dear to my heart not only because I have been a patient there, but so have my mother and father. My father died in 2005 and he was a man that believed in charity and I know he would be proud that I’m doing this to honor him.”
Carrie Zimmerman had everything going against her when she decided to sign up for the 2010 New York Marathon. A young, single working mother who had surgery on her knees as recently as April of this year, she has trained long and hard for what will be a jubilant week beginning Nov. 1 in New York when runners gather from all over the world to prepare for the Nov. 7 race.
A notable race in the past was the 2001 marathon, when less than two months after the attacks of 9/11 the race became more of a, “focus of community spirit,” rather than just a race.