Ken Schramm knows about storms; the 2011 tornado cut a mile-wide path between his business at Seventh and Main streets and his home on the south side of Joplin.
So he will understand, he said, if Hurricane Sandy’s impact dictates contingency plans for Sunday’s New York City Marathon be put into place. But he really, really hopes he gets to compete.
“As far as I know from blogs I’m seeing by other marathoners, it’s a go. I just can’t imagine it will be postponed or put off — it’s a world event, and they’ll do everything possible to make it happen one
way or another,” Schramm said Monday morning.
Schramm, 48, owns Fast Copy Printing in Joplin and Pro Print in Pittsburg, Kan., and two years ago began competing in distance races.
He qualified for his first New York City Marathon last year in the “Run for the Ranch” half-marathon in Springfield.
“After qualifying, you are put into a lottery process and when I qualified, there were over 97,000 who had qualifying times and were put into that lottery,” he said. “They pulled out less than 8 percent of the names, so I was lucky.”
Schramm’s time was 3:15:36. A record 47,000 runners competed.
“It’s truly amazing — there is such a wide variety of people, you run through all five boroughs, you wind up in Central Park, and there are millions of people cheering all the way to the finish line,” he said.
Schramm again qualified this year because of his time in “Roots and Blues” in Columbia, Mo. But this year he also holds the honor of being chosen to carry the Missouri state flag in the Parade of Nations Friday night during pre-race festivities, something he believes is because he is from Joplin.
“I think that is largely the reason,” he said. “It’s like the opening ceremonies to the Olympics, with all the elite runners and representatives from different countries. I had to submit an essay about why I should be accepted, and I wrote that I was from Joplin and how much we appreciate all the people who had come forth in the recovery process after the tornado, and this is our way of saying thanks back to everyone.”
He will be among 75 people representing 75 countries in the ceremony.
He also was selected to help unfurl the American flag as the Star Spangled Banner plays before the race starts.
“My wife, Dianne, and three of my kids will be there to see it,” he said.
Their plans are to fly from St. Louis to New York on Friday morning.
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Sandy will have passed by the time the marathon begins on Sunday, but preparations may be affected by the storm.
Runners from overseas planning to arrive in New York several days before the race may have to make alternative plans, as inbound and outbound flights most likely will be delayed. Subways, trains and buses also have been shut down and at this time it is unclear when service will resume.