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By Jeff Benjamin

A Column appearing every two months informing people about the POSITIVE things which are going on in the Staten Island running community.

November 24, 2001 - As always, this past Thanksgiving morning brought out not only the best runners on Staten Island, but, in my opinion, the best people as well. For, whether you are a runner, jogger, racer, participant or volunteer, the Lou Marli Run is what Staten Island running is all about. It was also great to see Vic and Joanne Navarra who, in this first column of giving credit where it is due, had to have been part of the most pressure-packed racing event of our time, which is this year's NY Marathon start.

For those of you who don't know, Vic, a retired NYC Fireman, was a Lieutenant at Tower Ladder 35 located at 66st. and Amsterdam Ave. In the tragedy of Sept. 11th, Vic learned to his horror of the deaths of 11 of his firefighters, along with one who was detailed to the house for that day. On top of that, as the Start Coordinator of the New York Marathon for over 20 years (first under the late Fred Lebow and currently under Allan Steinfeld), Vic and his staff is responsible for setting up and starting the most famous Marathon in the world, which starts here on Staten Island!!!

One can just imagine the pressure that Vic and his crew were feeling. Vic, like many of New York's Bravest had to divvy up his time on the Marathon (A Herculean task itself) and caring for the fallen. On top of that, memories of the 1993 false start NY Marathon still echoed in all minds. Now, security on the highest Federal Level had to be addressed as well. Vic and his crew had to make sure there were no security problems involving the 30,000 starters and 10,000 volunteers in Fort Wadsworth.

Once again, Vic, Joanne, April, Kristie, Steve, and the rest of the staff came through with flying colors. Without the help of NY Marathon volunteers Joe Weisenfeld, Charlie Blaich, Bob Palisay, Mike Rafferty, Charles Hargrove, Joanne Kopycinski, Gail Griffo, Mike McVey, Frank Gibson, Bill Boyd, and Mike and Roseann Gillin, who, along with so many others, contributed to the event, the seriousness and professionalism towards the event would not have resulted into the great success it turned out to be.

Staten Island came through with flying colors. Congratulations, Vic. You and your crew are getting credit where credit is due.