Petrus Cesarion and others to run NYC Marathon to raise money for Haiti
Source: NY Daily News –
J/P HRO secured five coveted charitable spots in the New York City Marathon, the world’s biggest road race, and offered them to the top finishers in a half-marathon in June held in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
Five years ago, a young Haitian man who is not much wider than a chopstick decided to run a race. A marathon runner friend had told him, “You have the build of a runner. You should try it.”
So the young man entered a local six-kilometer race. He did not train for it. His footwear was an old pair of tennis shoes.
Petrus Cesarion finished first, and made a discovery.
“I love to pass other runners when I run,” Cesarion said through an interpreter.
Cesarion, 27, has long since tossed the tennis shoes, and emerged as one of the top distance runners in Haiti. On Sunday morning, he and four fleet Haitian compatriots will traverse the five boroughs in their first U.S. marathon, a so-called “Long Run for Haiti” that has already raised more than $210,000 in support of J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO) — an initiative launched by actor Sean Penn in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake that left upwards of 300,000 people dead and destroyed about 100,000 homes. With a major assist from Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group, a New York-based agency that specializes in helping athletes and celebrities maximize their foundation fund-raising and extend the reach of their mission, J/P HRO secured five coveted charitable spots in the New York City Marathon, the world’s biggest road race, and offered them to the top finishers in a half-marathon in June held in the Haitian capital of Port au-Prince.
It lined up celebrity runners such as Pamela Anderson, and an array of sponsors, the proceeds channeled to support the group’s core mission: to save lives and bring sustainable programs to the Haitian people quickly and effectively.
J/P HRO works through four program departments: medical, community development, engineering and construction, and camp and relocations management.
Its work has resulted in securing housing for about 58,000 of the 60,000 residents of two massive postearthquake camps. It has also vaccinated 4,000 people against cholera, set up teacher training programs and set up a private primary school called The School of Hope.
J/P HRO has also removed 500,000 cubic meters of rubble from the streets of Port-au-Prince.
Petrus Cesarion will compete in legitimate running shoes on Sunday. He is not sure how many runners he will pass, but believes it will be a most worthwhile day, regardless.
“Haiti wants to change and continue to grow, but we need the international community to stand by us — not only with money, but (by giving us) the tools and support to do it on our own.
“By participating in the marathon, it is an opportunity to cast a positive light on Haiti, and not just the negative — and to show the potential there is in Haiti.”