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New York City marathon runners redirect energy into charity (+video)

Hundreds of runners wearing New York marathon shirts and backpacks full of supplies went to hard-hit Staten Island. Other would be NYC marathon runners raised funds and donations for Sandy victims at Columbus Circle.

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Even though their race was called off, marathoners were still on the move in New York on Sunday.

Hundreds of runners wearing marathon shirts and backpacks full of supplies took the ferry to hard-hit Staten Island and ran to stricken neighborhoods to help. Thousands of others poured into Central Park to put in 26.2 miles after the official cancellation of the world's largest marathon because of Superstorm Sandy.

"A lot of people just wanted to finish what they started," said Lance Svendsen, who organized an alternative marathon called Run Anyway. By 8:45 a.m., his group had sent off five waves of runners from the marathon's official finish line, which had not yet been taken down. "It is amazing. My guess is about 600 people have left so far."

IN PICTURES: Sandy: Chronicle of a superstorm

Italians stretched en masse near the Plaza Hotel. The Germans started from Columbus Circle. Everyone plunged into the park to pursue their own race. Some ran around the park clockwise, some counterclockwise, taking over startled dog walkers with a riot of color.

It was a throwback to the original New York City Marathon in 1970, which was run ragtag with 127 people and stayed completely within Central Park This time, some dropped off clothing and other supplies for storm victims.

This year's runners all are guaranteed entry into next year's race, but not everyone could be sure that chance would come.

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