Local Runner Holds Own NYC Marathon in Buffalo

November 4, 2012 Updated Nov 4, 2012 at 10:03 PM EDT

By WKBW Internet

November 4, 2012 Updated Nov 4, 2012 at 10:03 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - 26-year-old Julia Burke was supposed to run in the NYC Marathon Sunday.

Those plans changed after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy let city leaders to cancel the iconic race. So she decided to hold her own NYC Marathon in Buffalo.

"Originally it was just going to be her and she was going to donate the cost of what she would have spent in New York to the Red Cross, and then more people joined on and within 24-48 hours there was 150 people who wanted to do the same thing," explained Burke's boyfriend, Jonathan Childress.

Social networking help spread word quickly, and a number of area businesses got involved, donating resources for the run and contributing to the Sandy relief effort.

"We heard about this yesterday and how many people just reacted on Facebook, the news and came out and donated? It really shows a lot, especially about New York, especially about Buffalo," said John Rachuna, who volunteered to help out at Sunday's run.

Julia ran 15 laps around Delaware Park, more than 26 miles, and was joined by nearly 150 runners throughout her 4.5 hour journey. A handful of those runners even ran the entire course.

And as she came down the home stretch just after Noon Sunday, she was greeted by friends and family with cheers and congratulations.

"This was amazing, one of the best days of my life. I couldn't believe the support out here from the spectators to the donors to the runners. It's been an incredible day, and I just can't believe what a community we have here in Buffalo," said Burke after the race.

The money raised will go to the American Red Cross to help victims of Sandy.