by: Anindya Bakrie
Sunday, November 6, 2011, or the early hours of Monday, I was in the United States. I was there not for business, but to attend a marathon in New York City. The event I attended is a fairly well-known event called "New York City Marathon 2011."
New York City Marathon was first held in 1970 with five regions across New York, including Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Manhattan. This is one of the most prestigious marathons at the moment. There were at least 100.000 runners from other countries following this 42.195 km runs that takes finish in Central Park.
I am not alone in this event. Besides me, there were also Sandiaga Uno, Dino Patti Djalal and about 20 other professionals and young entrepreneurs from Indonesia. We also mingle with professional athletes who compete for a prize of US$ 600.000.
We came there a few days earlier before the marathon started so we could train first and did some adaption to the weather. The New York City was in 10 degrees C at that time that made us struggle to make it with help of thick gloves which are unique, because they wrote the routes to be followed by runners.
It was kind of tough for us as well to attend the marathon since the moment it was being held was Eid Adha which we found it hard because not only we couldn’t celebrate it with our family, but also we needed to find a place to do the prayers. In the end we were glad that we could finally find a location nearby the marathon area to do prayers at around 7:30 am local time.
Although it provisional, yet we did not lose its meaning. All people looked solemn and devoted to do the Sunnah. We were lucky because the priest who led us praying was Feizal Abdul Rauf, a priest of Ground Zero Mosque. As we finished prayers, we then prepared ourselves for the run. Our team from Indonesia itself was released in a different group. I led the second group, while Sandiaga Uno and Dino Patti Jalal were in the third group.
We finished after running for about four to five hours. I was using a vest with number 40715 on it and finished the race in 4 hours 55 minutes and 12 seconds, and Sandiaga Uno whom wearing 57410 touched the finish line in 4 hours 24 minutes and 8 seconds.
We were certainly much slower compared to the winner of this race, Geoffrey Mutai from Kenya who finished in 2 hours 23 minutes and 15 seconds. As the winner for the women's race went to Firehiwot Dado from Ethiopia, she finished the race in 2 hours 23 minutes and 15 seconds. However, we should admit that our team is far left behind other runners. We think it’s pretty likely to say so considering that Indonesian team that competing in this race was not a marathon runner or a professional athlete and we also did not target to be the champ and get prizes.
So what were we looking for?
We were there deliberately to take advantage of the famous marathon race in the world by billions of people who watched it with a social mission through the program "Berlari Untuk Berbagi."
In this program of Berlari Untuk Berbagi, we do not just run merely around New York City, but also to raise funds. The funds we collect by making a donation Rp 80 million per kilometer that we go through. The target is to collect donations to Rp 4 billion.
Then what was it for? Proceeds will be donated to the charity designated by each donor, such as Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (YCAB). Donated funds will be managed for economic empowerment programs for less-privileged mothers as a revolving fund. YCAB targets about 1.200 young entrepreneurs helped and 250 adolescents out of school getting a chance to continue their education.
Plans, we would still run the same Berlari Untuk Berbagi for other upcoming events, both abroad and in Indonesia. We want the spirit of this movement spread everywhere, inspire and help many people in need.
Berlari Untuk Berbagi is truly this special. Unlike ordinary running which takes only health benefits for runners, but through this program, the benefits will also go to others, through donations raised.
This Berlari Untuk Berbagi for New York Marathon 2011 that was held on Eid Adha also has its own meaning for each of us. The big day reminds us to be willing to sacrifice and sharing with others, in any kind of help. I think the efforts attempted by fiends who donate at the event for Berlari Untuk Berbagi is also a form of sacrificing for others.