Project Purple Takes on the New York City Marathon!

On November 6th, 2016, Project Purple took on the TCS New York City Marathon with a team of 72 runners. After many months of training, the team took to the streets of New York City, wearing their Project Purple singlets. This diverse group of runners was dedicated not only to their training but also to their fundraising. Amazingly, they raised nearly $300,000.00!

The 20116 Project Purple TCS NYCM team
The 20116 Project Purple TCS NYCM team

Meeting the Scientists

The team descended upon New York City in the days preceding the race.The afternoon before the race, the team’s top fundraisers were invited to a special meet and greet with pancreatic cancer researcher Dr. Ken Olive of Columbia University. This was a special opportunity for these exceptional fundraisers to see where the dollars they raised are going. This also allowed the researchers to meet the family members who are passionate about stopping pancreatic cancer.

Pre-Race Dinner

On marathon eve, the runners attended an informal dinner with their teammates and family members. The dinner is a highlight of race weekend because it allows the runners to get to know one another. Often this is the first time families are able to meet others who have lost a loved one to pancreatic cancer. With over 100 people in attendance, this event created an opportunity for runners and their families to mingle and get to know one another. Elli Erickson said, “It was great. People were able to just meet and talk. It was wonderful to see families share their stories. Friendships were made and people got connected as they prepared to run for their loved ones.”

Speakers Inspire the Team

At the event, Project Purple founder and chairman Dino Verrelli told the runners how he lost his father to pancreatic cancer five years earlier. He explained how Project Purple was born out of a promise he made to his dad that he would never stop fighting against the disease. In addition, Dino announced changes to the Project Purple logo and tagline, which now reads ‘A World without Pancreatic Cancer’. These changes reflect the charity’s broadened focus which includes new and exciting fundraising ventures.

The dinner featured other important speakers. Elli Erickson, Project Purple Executive Director, also spoke to the team, sharing the story of how she lost both her mom and her dad to pancreatic cancer. The keynote speaker for the evening was pancreatic cancer survivor, Rick Carone. Rick, who has been fighting pancreatic cancer for three years, delivered an inspiring speech about facing struggles. He told the team how much they inspired him, but every single runner in the room was inspired by Rick’s words.

Rick Carone speaking to the runners the night before the NYCM
Rick Carone speaking to the runners the night before the NYCM

Race Day

The next morning, the team hit the streets as they ran through all five boroughs of New York City. The marathon is a very special event. As Elli explained, “The whole city just shuts down for the marathon. Everyone comes out for the race and the whole city is supporting the runners. The number of volunteers and police who come out to help is just amazing.” The marathon is a extraordinary event for all involved, whether they are running the race or supporting the athletes.


The weather was sunny and pleasant as more than 50,000 runners made their way through the 26.2 miles of the course.

Runners on the NYCM course
Runners on the NYCM course
New York City Marathon Cheer Zones

Team manager Stacy Clark said, “This marathon is the greatest one in the world. It was awesome and very high energy.” Project Purple had special cheer zones in Brooklyn at mile 12 and in Harlem at mile 18. The Wagner College women’s basketball team came decked out in Project Purple gear to cheer on the team, and Project Purple even had a band playing for the runners as they passed by.

The Project Purple cheer zone
The Project Purple cheer zone

Here is a video clip of one of the cheer zones:

The runners were fairly spread out, which was nice because it enabled the cheer zones to focus on each individual as they came by. The charity had a number of first time marathoners, as well as veteran racers. Though there were some aches and pains, all of the runners finished the full 26.2 mile distance.



Following the marathon, there was an after race party. As each runner entered the event, the Project Purple team cheered them on. Families came to the post-race party to meet their runners and have their photos taken.


This amazing team of 72 runners raised an incredible amount of money which will go towards funding pancreatic cancer research. They forged new friendships with other runners who have experienced the pain of a loss due to pancreatic cancer. They also ran one of the most celebrated marathons in the entire world and made memories to last a lifetime.

Project Purple sincerely appreciates all of the hard work put forth by our incredible New York City Marathon team! If you would like to run for Project Purple, follow this link for more information:



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