Owego, N.Y. resident Barbara Morrissey is preparing to run in the New York City (NYC) marathon on Sunday, Nov. 2, her 22nd running in what is known as the largest marathon in the world.
Barbara’s passion for running started in 1978 when she participated in a 5K sponsored by the Tioga County Boys and Girls Club in Owego. The year 1989 marked Morrissey’s run in the NYC marathon, and since then she has finished 21 marathons, a remarkable accomplishment.
Running has become a part of her active lifestyle, and as a member of the Triple Cities Runners club, she runs other races as well. Morrissey, now 67, recently completed physical therapy, but feels strong and ready for the 26.2-mile course through the five boroughs of New York City.
Barbara is guaranteed an entry into the NYC marathon since she runs for charity and has completed 15 or more runs as part of the 1,000-plus runners known as the “15-Plus” group. About 20,000 runners participated when Barbara ran her first NYC marathon, and in 2013 there were more than 50,000 finishers. Morrissey is genuinely pleased with the comradery amongst the running community and has enjoyed meeting people from all over the world.
Barbara’s primary goal, however, is not to win or break a record, but to raise money for cancer research. Since 1991, Barbara has raised money for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), one of the premier cancer research centers in the world, and the first official charity of the NYC marathon started by race co-founder Fred Lebow.
This year, Barbara’s goal is to raise $6,700 for “Fred’s Team,” a non-profit organization whose mission is to support lifesaving cancer research at MSKCC and bring us “one step closer to a world without cancer.”
“I have a great level of satisfaction raising money for MSKCC,” Barbara shared. Barbara had the opportunity to meet Fred Lebow twice, which, in his lifetime completed 69 marathons in 30 countries. Lebow passed away in 1994 from brain cancer. A statue in his honor was erected in Central Park, and is carefully moved to the finish line of the NYC marathon every year.
A registered nurse and oncology nurse for three decades, Barbara has cared for countless cancer patients, and suffered the loss of several loved ones to the disease. Through continued advances in research, Barbara has other family members who are cancer survivors.
Morrissey stated, “It is an honor to run Fred’s NYC marathon every year to continue the dream of a world without cancer.” “Fred’s Team” has raised more than $57 million since its inception, and supports 50 areas of cancer research. “Research is so important,” Barbara explained, and she added, “We need to support better ways to treat cancer.”
Fred Lebow was quoted as saying, “Few things in life match the thrill of a marathon.” The NYC marathon brings out the spirit of the community, and Barbara Morrissey said she is always thrilled to see and hear the support of the spectators gathered as she runs by.
One of her fondest memories of the NYC marathon is running across the bridge back into Manhattan in November 2001 and hearing the “Star Spangled Banner” play, less than two months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Barbara welcomes you to join her in supporting MSKCC. Donations to “Fred’s Team” are accepted at the web site: fredsteam.org. To find Barbara’s page, enter her participant name “Barbara Ann Morrissey.”