A Dungiven marathon runner has been lending a helping hand in storm battered New York in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Cathal Grieve was one of several runners representing Derry’s ‘Children in Crossfire’ in the Big Apple marathon, due to take place on Sunday, but cancelled in the wake of the devastation from the killer storm.
Areas of Manhattan and further afield were still without power or under water and many poorer areas of the city were left devastated.
Despite the disappointment at not getting to run after months of gruelling training and raising £4,000, the 25-year-old said he totally agreed with cancelling the marathon.
“I was completely gutted when the marathon was cancelled, but when I actually saw the devastation I completely understood,” he told the ‘Journal’ from New York on Sunday.
Instead of heading back home, Cathal revealed he will spend the remainder of his trip in New York devoting his time to aiding victims of Hurricane Sandy and the relief effort.
“There were some people who ran in Central Park today (Sunday), but we decided, as a group, that it still wasn’t the right thing to do, so we went and volunteered at a shelter for people that have lost their homes.”
Cathal, in New York for two weeks, is determined to do his bit to help the city.
“This week I will also be joining my Uncle Barney McGlade, who lives in Woodlawn in The Bronx and we’ll be heading out to Staten Island, which has been hit worst and where we will be helping to clean up.”
Also in New York, is Cathal’s family, including his mum and dad, Geraldine and George.
Speaking briefly to the ‘Journal’ yesterday, Geraldine said she had been visiting New York for years.
“I never thought I would see New York City experience something like this,” she said, explaining she had witnessed frequent queues of motorists waiting in line for fuel and residents queuing for gas for generators.
Mrs. Grieve revealed her husband would also be joining the much needed relief efforts on Staten Island.
“It’s just awful,” she said, adding: “I never thought I would see anything like this in New York.”
Conscious of the generosity of people back home who helped Cathal raise thousands of pounds for the marathon, the Dungiven lad has vowed to keep his pledge about completing the 26.2 miles.
“For all the people that donated money, I will be organising a marathon when I get home,” he added.
A representative from ‘Children in Crossfire’ said organisers of the New York marathon have donated all registration fees to the relief fund.
In addition all the water and generators which would have been put in use throughout the marathon have been redirected to the relief effort.
Corporate sponsors Asics have also donated profits from the Expo to the fund.