For the running community, it's nothing new.
While confronting adversity, the runners have always been supportive in relief efforts to the nation's natural disasters. Louisiana Marathon Strategic Partnerships Director Craig Sweeney said the response to Louisiana's historic August flooding is no exception.
“We've heard and saw where running groups, running organizations and other marathons rallied in the face of a disaster or adversity,” Sweeney said, citing examples like Hurricane Sandy and the Boston Marathon bombings.
This summer, with floodwaters reaching more than 85 percent of Livingston Parish homes near the Louisiana Marathon's home, Baton Rouge, the marathon became the receiver of the nation’s support.
The Louisiana Marathon has actively worked to shrink the enormous damage, aiding those affected through a variety of avenues with the assistance of its racing peers.
From California to New York — and everywhere in between — fellow races, marathon events and running organizations have shipped previous year race t-shirts to Louisiana to fellow runners who were swamped in southeastern Louisiana’s flood.
How many shirts?
Almost too many, Sweeney said, excitedly.
“Oh my gosh,” he sighed. “Let’s just say, we had to start saying we’ve got enough. It was a lot.”
More than simply physical donations, like t-shirts, poured in. Through a fund called “Louisiana Runs” with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the Louisiana Marathon has produced more than $8,000 for flood relief efforts in the Baton Rouge area.
More funding is likely coming, Sweeney said.
Some funding was dispensed through with Louisiana Marathon’s sponsor-a-child donation channel. If an extra $25 is donated while registering for the race, a spot for a child to participate in the race becomes available.
At least 100 children are now able to run in 2017’s race, Sweeney said, and an additional 100 children, or more, could have race spots by the time the event begins Saturday.
“Instead of it being a couple dollars, they’re sponsoring the ability for a kid to run. … But that’s just one avenue,” Sweeney said. “Another might just be, ‘Here, I’m going to write a check.’
"That check just goes into our fund and we do different things with it to support running. It’s got to be with that initiative.”
Physical labor donations, oftentimes is toughest to produce, are present too. Hence, the “Cajun Navy” — deemed for the self-deployed boaters who aided those entrenched in Baton Rouge’s surging waters. They'll be presenting medals at the finish line of the Louisiana Marathon for the dozens of runners who willingly gutted houses without profit.
It’s another moment example of the running community battling through adversity. And doing it together, Sweeney said.
“Come together in spirit as we move forward and continue to heal,” he said.