The New York Marathon – a runners perspective…

Hopefully I will be this cheerful at the finish...

Hopefully I will be this cheerful at the finish…

Many of my readers may not know, but I will be running in the New York City Marathon this coming November. I am raising $5,000 for Animals Asia and have called it the Moon Bear Marathon in honour of the moon bears I am helping to save from the horrific practice of bile farming in Asia.

Not being a marathon runner I am a little (a lot) nervous but having read this blog post from Pip Coates, an Australian journalist who blogs about running, I am feeling a wee bit better! See what you think:

If you’re contemplating a trip to New York, the best time to go is in early November and the best way to see the city is by taking a unique tour that covers all five boroughs- Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan. The tour takes anywhere from three to five hours and all streets along the route are closed to traffic for your exclusive access; it’s the only New York tour to offer such a service.

Along the way you’ll be entertained by more than 130 live bands, each one a musical representation of the cultural diversity of the neighbourhoods you pass through. Food and drink is provided every kilometre. Numbers are limited to about 45,000 and entry costs from $327 but, despite this, every year it’s harder to score a ticket.

The tour is called the lNG New York Marathon and, yes, you have to run 42.2 kilometres- or 26 miles- non-stop, but that is actually what makes it fun. Especially as you’re doing it with runners from about 80 countries. This event is at once a race, an intense personal challenge, a cultural exchange, a sightseeing tour, a music festival and a giant carnival. If there’s only one marathon in you, this should be it because it’s the only marathon in the world with enough crowd power to help carry you over the line.

The race begins from Staten Island with a steady climb up and over the two kilometre-long Verrazano Narrows bridge that spans the Hudson River. Manhattan – your final destination –looks very far away. As the sun rises, 45,000 pairs of sneakers smack the bitumen. Some runners record the moment on their smartphones; others cheer. The adrenaline courses through your veins; the scene is so at odds with the hours of solitary training in pre-dawn winter darkness that you ‘ve endured to get here.

OMG!

OMG!

Once over the Narrows your marathon tour arrives in Brooklyn and a rapturous greeting from the first of some 2 million spectators who will be lining the course and waving signs saying “Black toenails are sexy” , “You’ve got stamina! Call me”, and “You are NOT nearly there”.

The sidewalk enthusiasm evaporates as you enter Brooklyn ‘s ultra-orthodox Jewish neighbourhood where the locals appear to consider you an invading alien force, which to some extent you are. But a few streets later you’re back in the madness passing a yarmulka-wearing rock band with a banner out front declaring: “Shalom to all kosher marathoners. ”

After Brooklyn and Queens, you traverse the long and steep Queensborough Bridge. New York is the hilliest of the five major marathons (Boston, London, Berlin and Chicago are the other four)and here, at about the 15-mile mark, you need to stay focused . You descend into the exit tunnel, take a 90-degree turn and emerge at the southernmost end of First Avenue, Manhattan.

You know you’ve arrived in Manhattan before you see it. The almost deafening roar of countless cheering spectators ricochets off the tunnel walls and when you emerge onto the avenue the scene is staggering: thousands upon thousands of runners and fans stretch straight ahead of you for almost 70 blocks: Those 70 blocks get pretty tedious, however, and despite some entertaining signage (“Run total stranger, run “), it’s almost a relief to cross another bridge into the Bronx. This is the 20-mile mark and things can get a bit hazy. You’re tired and a little voice is trying to fill your head with negative thoughts. Then someone goes and waves a banner saying “It’s OK to cry”. Just as you consider doing so, the live music intervenes. This time it’s Alicia Keys (sounds like her, looks like her) singing Empire State of Mind. You kick on.

Your tour arrives back on Manhattan at 138th Street. It’s time for the return push south along the island – 48 blocks of straight grind up Fifth Avenue. Fortunately the crazy supporters haven’t run out of puff and when at last you turn into Central Park at 90th street, it’s a blessed relief. Yes, you will hurt and there will be scenes of carnage among some of the other runners, but the magnificent, dazzling display of autumn colours throughout the park can still fill you with joy.

With about 2.2 miles to go it’s time to draw on all your reserves of mental strength and remind yourself how to run properly as your body is close to seizing up in protest. It’s time to think about why you signed up for this tour, how much it means to you, who you are doing it for.

A few more bends in the road, the faces flash by and then you hear the blissful sound of the race announcer counting down the final few hundred metres. It’s all you can focus on: the finish line, the blue timing mats, the crowds in the stands, the overhead electronic timing clocks.

You run so hard to the end- and then it’s over. You can stop, but you can hardly stand, the emotion is overwhelming. Someone wraps you in a heat sheet, someone else pins it together and then someone drapes a heavy medal around your neck and takes a photo. You’ve completed the world’s biggest marathon. And you’ve got a medal to prove it.

If you would like to help me achieve my $5,000 goal towards the rescue of  moon bears from bile farming feel free to donate here!

Read Pip’s blog here. 

Chinese New Year Fundraiser for the Bears!

Please help to set me free!

The Chinese New Year starts next Monday 23rd January and no doubt there will be celebrations across the world to ring it in.

Some Chinese residents will not be joining them however – they are kept in cages no bigger than themselves and milked daily for their bile. They are Moon Bears.

To help Animals Asia eradicate this horrendous practice and to set them free, I am raising  money by having a Chinese New Year High Tea and Yum Cha event in Brisbane on Sat 11 Feb 2-4pm called Moon Cakes and Moon Bears.

The Moon Cakes & Moon Bears event will feature different Chinese teas and savoury and sweet treats that are traditionally eaten at this special time of year.
Tea expert May King Tsang from May King Tea will be giving a talk on her extensive knowledge of teas, plus an insight into the fascinating customs celebrated for Chinese New Year. Follow her on Twitter @MayKingTea or her website: http://www.maykingtea.com
Fabulous raffle prizes will be on offer plus there will even be a Chinese Market Stall selling pre-loved clothes, shoes, handbags & more with items selling for as little as $2! Attendees will also receive a gift bag with some Chinese New Year goodies including your horoscope, a good luck scratchie ticket, a Fortune Cookie and more!

Indulge in Chinese delights!


All profits, raffles sales and stall sales from the day will go directly to Kerri’s China Moon Bear Rescue Challenge which aims to raise $10,000 for Animals Asia to continue their rescue and rehabilitation of Moon Bears from the extremely cruel practice of bear bile farming in China. http://www.facebook.com/Help.Rescue.The.Bears
For more information and to book your spot at Moon Cakes and Moon Bears high tea, please go to the event page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/104287263026145/
If you are unable to make it to the event but still wish to make a difference to eradicating bile farming of bears in Asia, you can visit my online donation page here: http://chinamoonbearchallenge.gofundraise.com.au/page/KerriChinaMoonBearChallenge
Thank you so much for your support!
Kerri and all the Moon Bears in Asia!

Send Kerri to China (it’s for a good cause!)

I am the one on the left...

I am so excited – I am taking the trip of a lifetime to walk the Great Wall of China to help my beloved bears find freedom and a new home!

I’m raising much needed funds in the China Moon Bear Challenge for Animals Asia to assist them with the vital work they do in trying to make the horrible practice of bear farming a thing of the past!

 

The China Moon Bear Challenge aims to raise funds to continue the rescue and rehabilitation of Moon Bears from the extremely cruel practice of bear bile farming inChina, and bring them to the sanctuary inChengdu,Sichuan Province to live out their lives freely in a beautiful bamboo forest without pain or fear.

In the bile farms, the bears experience unimaginable horror by spending all day, every day, in tight, coffin-sized cages for as long as 25 years. They are milked daily (usually twice) for their bile in an excruciatingly painful process through crude (often filthy) implanted catheters and are sometimes  fitted with an iron corset to hold the catheters in place.

The bears moan and writhe in pain as the bile drains from their bodies. Sometimes the farmers mutilate the bears by breaking their teeth or pulling out their claws (sometimes removing entire digits) so that they can approach them without being injured.

Some cages have a collapsible top that can “crush” the bear and immobilise it better during the process. The bears are denied adequate water and food as this produces more bile.

The bile is used in traditional Chinese medicine, even though there are more than 50 cheap and effective herbal and synthetic alternatives readily available.

In 2000, after years of lobbying and negotiating, Animals Asia signed a landmark agreement with the Chinese authorities to rescue 500 Moon Bears and work towards ending the barbaric practice of bear bile farming.

Officially there are about 7000 bears  in bile farms in China, but Animals Asia fear there could be as many as 10,000.

As a participant of the Moon Bear Rescue Challenge for Animals Asia, I am raising vitally required funds used for the medical attention and rehousing of the rescued Moon Bears, and I will be visiting the Moon Bear sanctuary inChinain May 2012.

Please help me make a difference.

Click here to read more and make a donation (every little bit counts!)  https://www.gofundraise.com.au/page/KerriChinaMoonBearChallenge

The bears even have their own Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/Help.Rescue.The.Bears

Purchase a copy of my eBook The Essential Guide to Declutter and Organise Your Home and 100% of all sales goes to the China Moon Bear Challenge! Buy your copy for only $5.95 here:  http://www.domesticdownsizing.com.au/products.htm