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Edgar and Holli Martinez organize successful charity marathon in New York City

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Edgar and Holli Martinez in 2007. (AP)

The New York City Marathon may have been canceled by mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday afternoon, but that didn't stop Holli Martinez — wife of former Seattle Mariners hitting machine and New York City native Edgar Martinez — from putting her running shoes on and participating in her first full length marathon on Sunday morning.

How did she pull that off you ask?

Well, on Saturday, Holli, along with her legendary husband, announced they would be organizing their own makeshift marathon to begin around 8 a.m. in Central Park, and invited all marathoners in town and local residents to join them for the event to help raise money for superstorm Sandy victims through the New York Cares program, as well as Holli's original motivation for running the marathon, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Thanks to the power of social media and strong organization by the Martinez Foundation, MLB.com is reporting the event turned out to be a rousing success as thousands of "ambitious joggers" and just as many bystanders willing to lend a hand or make a donation turned out.

"It's more meaningful," said Holli of the makeshift run. "It's one thing to come together for the love of running. It's another thing to come together because you really want to help people and be part of the recovery effort. It's my understanding that the organizations that are helping, it's harder for them to accept physical help, but they really do need resources as far as money is concerned."

According to Alicia O'Neill, who managers endurance fundraisers for the MMRF, the Martinez Foundation had already raised half a million dollars through their efforts this weekend, with runners making donations to both funds.

"People who are connected to a patient and who are runners want to support us, and we've already raised a half a million dollars even though there's no marathon," said O'Neill. "Half of our group went down to Staten Island today to volunteer because they felt their heart pulling them to do that.

"Others in our group here felt like, 'You know what? I've been raising money. I've been training. I'm running a marathon today.' When Holli put out the notice to run, it gave a lot of people a really easy way to fulfill their dream even though there's no official finish line or a medal."

Kudos to all involved in Sunday's events, as it sounds like many of them went above and beyond the call to help out. But a special congratulations is due to Holli Martinez. Rather than be disappointed about the event she trained for being canceled under unfortunate circumstances, she helped turn it into a feel good story that will end up benefiting two great causes and several people in need.

And yes, we'll even give Edgar a pat on the back, too, even though he wasn't scheduled to be a participant in the New York City Marathon and didn't run in the charity event either. No, he didn't work up much of a sweat this morning, but as he informed us on Saturday, he still had one of the most important roles for the impromptu happening.

"I'll be passing out water," Edgar said with a chuckle. "I don't even drive that far."

Those of all us who watched Martinez run over his 18-year big league career certainly aren't surprised by this development, but he could have at least utilized a pinch-runner.

All kidding aside, check out the website The Martinez Foundation has set up for donations or visit them on Facebook to learn more about the terrific event.

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