Among the 43,475 runners who crossed the ING NYC Marathon finish line on Sunday were big-screen actors, Edward Norton and Anthony Edwards, who capitalized on their star power to raise money for causes much bigger than personal records.
But there were others perhaps not as famous, but equally noble, who also set aside personal records and goals for causes close to their hearts.
One such runner was Cheryl Pientka, a literary agent, who ran to rid dogfighting for United Action for Animals.
A volunteer for various New York City animal rescue groups for 10 years and a three-time New York City marathon runner, Pientka thought it was time to marry the two.
“Initially, I wasn’t running for a cause and getting rid of dogfighting is something that is close to my heart,” said Pientka.
Eradicating dogfighting is of many causes close to the heart of the New York City-based animal advocacy group, too. “We had one volunteer already raising money and running for the organization, so when Cheryl reached out, I thought, ‘the more the merrier,’” said Jennifer Panton, President of United Action for Animals.
Pientka ran the grueling 26.2 mile course through New York City’s five boroughs with a bum contact lens that scratched 90% of her cornea to boot! Despite limited eye sight and several hours of discomfort, the runner and animal lover crossed the finish line in a respectable 3:57:51.
“Before I joined [to run for] United Action for Animals, my goal had been to try to qualify for Boston again,” said Pientka. “I didn’t do it this year, but somehow that goal didn’t seem to matter as much because I had run a good race for an important cause and helped raise over $7,100.”
To donate to Pientka and "Team UAA" to rid dogfighting visit http://www.ua4a.org/donate.html