RISE (Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability & Equity) will be making its second appearance at the 2023 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon on Sunday, March 19, 2023. It was chosen again as an official charity partner of the 13.1-mile run, which means five slots were made available for individuals who enjoy the long course and who love to raise money for a worthy cause.
Twelve people put in their names to represent Team RISE, and it was a tough selection process because everyone had good reason: from being a fan of RISE, to advocating for climate resiliency, to being a parent wanting this for her child, to having a love of running.
In the end, Rumbi Bwerinofa-Petrozzello, 49, Fay Schneider, 26, Ella DeBode, 24, Shafaath Khan, 21, and Juliana Rodas, 19, made the cut.
Bwerinofa-Petrozzello raised $1,589 for RISE last year and is recommitting herself to running the half-marathon again this year. “I live here. RISE is a core support of the Rockaway community and environment!”
Schneider said, “I am originally from Minnesota but have lived in Rockaway with my partner, Pat, for going on four years. Pat passed in a sudden hiking accident last winter, and I began running to honor his love for the sport and to physically work with my daily grief. The opportunities for civic engagement and education RISE brings to the Rockaways help further the natural integrity of our community. Because of their meaningful work, I am honored to represent and help raise funds for RISE and our Rockaway community in the 2023 United Airlines Half Marathon.”
DeBode lives in Manhattan and was recommended by Rockaway Track Club Coach Jim McVeigh as one of the top twenty-six runners. “Although I’m not a Rockaway resident, I am ecstatic to represent RISE in the United Airlines NYC Half and say thank you to the neighborhood that has inspired me so much this past year.”
Khan ran for RISE last year and brought in $975 for the organization. “It was a fantastic experience. One of the best ones of my life!” As for this year’s half-marathon, Khan said, “I want to run for RISE because I have been part of their program for the past four years. I was also a youth leader during the summer Shore Corps. During my time as a student and a leader, I have seen others and myself benefit from this program. Running for RISE is a way for me to give back to this nonprofit youth organization.”
Rodas said, “I was raised in the Rockaways and have lived here all my life. I would love to run for RISE to show my love for them. They have given me such amazing opportunities, and I would be more than happy to support them.”
Team RISE could use some love as they train and raise funds for programs that benefit our beloved community. Go to www.riserockaway.org, click on Events, then Current Events, and scroll down to Team RISE @ 2023 United Airlines NYC Half.
By S. C. Samoy, RISE Director of Operations & Communications