Bronxite chosen to compete in Footlocker Five Borough Challenge in NYC marathon

Rachel Charlop- Powers

Some people run for exercise, some for fun. Rachel Charlop-Powers runs for her mom.

The Bronx native was chosen to compete in this Sunday’s ING New York City Marathon as part of the Footlocker Five Borough Challenge Team.

Despite Hurricane Sandy, the five-borough race is still on course to step off, with runners beginning in Staten Island, running into the Bronx over the Willis Avenue Bridge and along E. 138th Street, and back into Manhattan, ending at Central Park.

Powers was chosen because of her tenacity and drive.

In 2010, she lost her mother in a tragic bicycle accident in the Bronx. Her mother, Megan, was a well-known and admired public health advocate and activist in the borough she loved, and the main reason she began to run. After training for her first half marathon with her mother in 2005, Powers said she had the hopes to one day run a full marathon.

With the passing of her mother, she said she realized that training for a full marathon would be the way she would cope with her loss, as well as a way to connect with her mother.

“I wanted to take a bite out of this big milestone, knowing that the training and the race would be big enough to parallel the enormity of my grief,” she said.

Just three months after her mother’s death, Powers ran her first full marathon in Lake Placid.

Powers said she realized that she was able to survive the death of her mother, while continuing to carry her legacy on.

“This is a very challenging time for the people and City of New York,” the NYC Marathon web site stated. “The City is rightfully focused on assessment, restoration and recovery. At NYRR, we stand with our City agency partners and support their efforts. The Marathon has always been a special day for New Yorkers as a symbol of the vitality and resiliency of this City. NYRR continues to move ahead with its planning and preparation. We will keep all options open with regard to making any accommodations and adjustments necessary to race day and race weekend events.”

For the 13th consecutive year Footlocker is uniting five strangers, one from each borough, who credit running to helping them over come their challenges.

The runners will participate in a “race within a race” by running the first 13 miles of the race together and then break away from each other for the remainder.

The runner in the group who finishes the marathon in the fastest time will become the Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge Champion, winning a Tiffany trophy, and city-wide bragging rights. The four other runners chosen to compete in the challenge are Adrienne Walsh for Brooklyn, Tessa Wehrman for Queens, Sean Cusick for Staten Island and Tony Forte for Manhattan.

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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