In the pool of celebrity runners for the 2009 NYC Marathon yesterday, Edward Norton finished on top. The 40-year-old actor completed the grueling 26.2 mile race in three hours, 48 minutes and one second. “You know you are going to hit tough spots,” he said post-marathon, “in a weird way mine came early in the race, but then I got my second wind around mile 18 and felt great the rest of the way.”
Norton was running the race to help raise funds for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust; with the normally shy web-user lighting up the social networking scene with fundraising on Twitter. Taking a look at rough totals this morning, I added up that the entire Maasai team running the marathon raised around $763,000. Norton himself raised an impressive $301,000. He wrote on Twitter after the race, “Many supporters in the crowd yelling encouragement. Totally inspiring. Highlight was hearing roar of city crowd from 59th St Bridge. Chills.”
While I’m sure the final fundraising numbers will be a bit higher, it’s wonderful to know that the Maasai will have some much-needed cash to help preserve their ecosystem and way of life. “If it seems like a project in a far off place that doesn’t connect to your world or your life, consider the fact that the ecosystem these people are trying to preserve is one of the last refuges of the lions and giraffes and rhinos and elephants that are the wildlife of our primitive imaginations and memories,” Norton wrote in his running bio. “There is a genuine threat to the future of that wildness if we don’t collectively value it and engage with the people who live alongside it.”
Mission accomplished. Now how about doing this again next year?