By: Christy Turlington Burns/ Founder Every Mother Counts
November 15, 2011
After my first run (this morning) since marathon Sunday, I feel inspired to revisit and share my experience with all of you who lovingly supported Team EMC and our efforts on behalf of moms around the world who face countless daily challenges to provide for themselves and their families.
And I would be completely amiss if I did not acknowledge YOUR efforts around this marathon event.
I may have been just one of 47,000 people who ran the 42nd ING NYC Marathon on November 6 th, but with your love and support we felt like an army and that’s how we were able to have the reach that we did.
The run itself was spectacular. Today’s mere six miles brought back vivid memories of the experience.
What I remember most was the weather, believe it or not. We were all so grateful for clear skies after it had snowed the previous weekend- in October!
Most of us barely slept November 5th, too anxious to surrender to a REM state of any memorable kind. Heading out into the dark just after 5 a.m., as some New Yorkers were just getting home, we headed to midtown to meet up with the rest of our team and catch the bus to Staten Island.
The sun was just coming up as we entered the grounds. We made ourselves comfortable and settled in for several hours. We all snapped pictures and organized ourselves, yet again, until our time was up. We dropped our things and made our way to our corral.
One of the most vivid highlights of the day was at the start of the race when Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” boomed across the sea of us runners loosening some of our tension. Click here to watch a video clip of us at the start.
The first few miles were just incredible. We all stuck pretty closely together over the Verrazano Bridge and into Brooklyn. Seeing all those people who turned out to cheer us ALL on, including some of our kids, husbands, parents, was just the kind of encouragement we needed. On practically every street corner a different band with a different kind of music played. Wearing our Every Mother Counts jerseys we received lots of praise and re-affirmations throughout every borough that yes, “Every Mother DOES Count!” Fathers holding their small children agreed. Many of YOU came out with your own homemade signs supporting “Every Mother Counts” and I can’t tell you what a boost that gave the whole team.
That energy truly does pull you through. There were numerous times when you think to yourself, I could just stop right here, right now. But no, not us, because we were not running for ourselves. We were running so that others do not have to. For all those vulnerable girls and women who live miles away from healthcare workers who could normally assist them during childbirth, and even further away from hospitals should they require such interventions found within them.
There was a moment somewhere around mile 20 where one of my team mates could feel me faltering but all he needed to say was, “Come on, think about all those mothers.”
That has become my mantra over the last several years, Come on, think about all those mothers.
Getting through those last three miles it was almost impossible to not think about mothers. It felt as close to natural childbirth as most would care to imagine, yet almost as satisfying to come out the other side a changed human being. After we crossed that bloody finish line, we reunited as a team at the nearby home of a dear friend. Coming out of the elevator and into a room of family and friends was the real prize of course.
I couldn’t help but admire the hand made signs that our families made for us. “Run Mommy Run” still rests on my dresser to remind me of our collective victory.
And what a victory it was! Together, we raised $140,000 for maternal health advocacy. That’s an absolutely incredible figure. And it wasn’t all raised from the NYC Marathon. Ten of us ran and all ten of us finished (hooray!) but we also had our friend Kristen run the Dublin marathon the week prior and across the country we had approximately 100 people participating in 5Ks. You all took the message to your own communities and spread awareness that distance is too often the biggest barrier for a pregnant mother and the difference of life and death.
I’m still riding high off the team spirit from that day- we’ve loved seeing the facebook photos come in from your runs- so keep them coming!
And when you do, don’t forget to think about all those mothers…