I witnessed something amazing this weekend and I’m not using that word lightly. While the news reported cowardly acts of hate with NY and NJ bombings, there was a courageous act of love taking place in Central Park. Eric Gelber calmly and quietly ran 200 miles in two and half days to raise over $250,000 toward a cure for Multiple Myeloma.
I promised a year ago that I would be there to support him during the toughest miles, like when he broke last year’s record of 176. He not only cruised past that milestone, he added a 7:30-paced sprint for a couple hundred yards just to make sure we were paying attention.
My brother Jeff, a myeloma survivor, was running with our group, along with Brad, Ramona, Julianna, David Hollingsworth and Larry Baker. We all got to witness Eric’s focus and relentless consistency as he overcame pain and exhaustion and sleep deprivation.
An important point is that each of us ran much farther than we thought we could. I had only trained to run thirteen but I pushed myself to run thirty-six over the two days. I just put my pain in the back seat and told it to shut up. I mean, come on. If Eric can do 200…
There will be many who write about the details of this legendary run, and you can watch several videos I posted in Facebook that were broadcast during the experience. I’d like to highlight a couple of things that stuck with me at the finish line. Jeff had told me earlier, “It’s amazing that someone would do something this selfless for me and so many other patients.” After it was done, I saw him take off his sunglasses and breathe in the celebration scene. With tears welling up he simply said, “It’s overwhelming… overwhelming.”
What happened in Central Park this weekend was not really about the run. Eric is not one to give speeches, but they forced him to say a few words at the finish line anyway. He broke into tears when he said “It’s really all about this right here… this community working together.”
For some, there is nothing bigger than finding a cure for cancer. And for that to happen in our lifetime, we need to continue to work together as a community to raise money and hope. Share the story and donate a few dollars if you can.
I took this picture above before the race began, and the caption is “Love conquers all.” God bless you and your family, Eric Gelber. It was an honor to run by your side.