Cheer for Team Innocence Project at the 2012 ING NYC Marathon
I’ve completed several marathons in the past (very slowly, and just for the love of running and the camaraderie of the event), however, since I don’t love fundraising, I’ve never run for a charity before. It’s an indication of how deeply I believe in the Innocence Project’s mission that I feel proud to raise money for the organization this year.
Ever since I first learned about the phenomenon of false confessions, I’ve been troubled by the injustice of wrongful convictions. I admired the Innocence Project’s work for years before I joined the staff, and since being hired as a Research Analyst, I’m even more inspired. On a daily basis, I help collect and analyze data about exonerees and their cases, and I stay up-to-date on academic literature that provides insight into factors that contribute to wrongful convictions. I’m surrounded by bright, dedicated co-workers who are passionate about social justice, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of our exonerees who – while they each have unique experiences and perspectives – never fail to impress me with their enormous strength and grace.
Because of all these amazing people, I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of the Innocence Project’s inaugural NYC Marathon team. Looking forward to wearing the IP logo on race day!
Talk about a long haul! That is what some people say when I tell them I’m running a marathon, but it is nothing compared to the long haul that the exonerees go through. My husband, Matthew, and I became involved with the Innocence Project after seeing an article on Taryn Simon’s work nearly a decade ago. We have been impressed with the dedicated, compassionate and intelligent team who work tirelessly to free the innocent. Matthew has served on the Board of Directors for several years and I am running to help raise both awareness and funds for the mission.
I started running three years ago. At first, a half of a block seemed too long, but through persistence, hard work, and maybe an ounce of a plain stubbornness, I worked my way up to running the Philadelphia Marathon last November. As rewarding as that race was to run, I know the NYC marathon will be more so because I am running to help such a great organization.
In my non-marathon training life, I am a veterinarian and the owner of Katz & Dogs Animal Hospital in Upper Montclair, NJ. As a veterinarian and leader of a team of 12 phenomenal paraprofessionals, I am given the opportunity to do what I love every day, surrounded by people who are inspired by the same goals. My husband is also a runner and my best friend. I am constantly inspired at work and at home and feel fortunate that I have so many opportunities. I am running so that others may know what that is like.
I’ve wanted to run a marathon since middle school, and was well on my way to completing this goal when I was seventeen years old, but a horrible case of conjunctivitis put me out of commission for six weeks. By the time I was ready to train again, I had lost any motivation to run 26.2 miles. My marathon aspirations have stayed on my bucket list, but I could never find the drive to actually commit to training for it. Then I started working for the Innocence Project and when we decided to create a marathon team to raise money for the IP, I immediately signed up. I honestly can’t imagine a more passionate group of people, a more dedicated organization, or a more inspiring cause than the Innocence Project and the innocence movement in general. What IP does every day for so many wrongly convicted people - that’s truly difficult work. Running a marathon is a breeze comparatively (Kidding! It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life - but worth it).