HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ /HARLEM, NY -- On the seventh and final day of Jamie Woyce's 188+ mile MS Run for the US, the Hasbrouck Heights resident got to sleep in a bit. Normally starting at 5 a.m., Friday's 14-mile run to the finish line started at 7:45 a.m.
She reflected on her seven-day journey which began in rural Sunbury, Pennsylvania, before heading out to meet up with her Cliffside Park High School cross country team Friday morning.
"It doesn't feel like it should be here yet," she said. "My body feels like it should be here, though. It's bittersweet."
"My friends have helped me literally every step of the way," she said. "And the other people who jumped in, and the Easton (High School cross country team), each time I saw someone I thought, 'They're here for me...I can't believe they came out for me.'"
"And those who have MS, it was so inspiring to see," she continued. "And they were so grateful. It put it into perspective and made me realize I am really doing something for them."
Woyce credited her encounters with those runners with giving her the extra motivation to keep going.
"It was so uplifting," she said.
Friday morning Team Woyce gathered for its final breakfast together, Hasbrouck Heights head coach Michael Ryan, Cliffside Park coach Lindsey Reggo, Shawn Rembecky, Jackie O'Connor, and MS crew Peter Oviatt, and Will Komas. Lauren Biello wasn't there Friday morning but has been the whole trip; she was waiting in Cliffside Park. Before heading out, Woyce high-fived Reggo, one of her constant companions on the journey, and other team members, and began running one last time, this time starting from the familiar point of Hamilton Avenue, turning onto Terrace Avenue.
"This is the last time for everyone," she called.
"See you at the finish line," someone called back.
Like other times along this journey, Woyce made a side trip and briefly stopped to visit with family in Ridgefield. She entered Cliffside Park and was greeted by cheering members of the high school's football, volleyball, girls soccer, and cross country teams at the school.
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"The first seven miles to Cliffside Park went so fast it was unbelievable," Woyce recalled. "When I ran up to the high school all of the sports teams, coaches, teachers, and administrators were outside cheering and holding up signs. The fire department and police were there as well. I was able to talk to the kids and take a bunch of pictures. Then the extra fun began."
Both the Cliffside Park and Fort Lee police escorted Woyce, Reggo, and the team all the way to the George Washington Bridge.
"They opened the road to us and it was amazing," she said. "People saw us and cheered and we had an awesome time. Once in the city the adrenaline was still pumping. Time just flew and we were at the finish. It was unbelievable.
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"I paused right before heading down to the arch and said to the one crew member that I couldn’t believe it was actually here. It felt unreal. As I crossed, I had family, friends, coworkers, the team, people from Harlem Hospital, and just random people on the street cheering for me," she said. "It was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe I did it. It was an awesome feeling knowing that I brought the whole relay to the end."
"As the Athletic Director, I am so proud of Jamie’s determination and accomplishment," said Cliffside Park High School Athletic Director Dave Profido. "The support she has this morning from our student athletes, coaches, and the Cliffside Park community was overwhelming! Jamie is the ultimate role model for all of her past, current, and future student athletes!"
"We are beyond proud of her....such a selfless act to do an event like this in honor of her sister," said Meghan DeCarlo, head coach of the Garfield High School cross country team. She had run with Woyce on Monday and Wedneday. "But honestly that’s Jamie in a nutshell. Always going above and beyond for others."
Jamie's journey was also a portrait of constrasts, starting in the quiet farmlands of Pennsylvania and and finishing across the soaring iron and concrete spans of the iconic George Washington Bridge surrounded by cocophany of vehicles.
"We started where there was no people..I didn't see anybody for two hours," said Woyce about startng in Sunbury. "Then we got into New Jersey and now New York City."
"Hopefully we're one step, or 190 miles, closer to finding a cure for MS," she said.
Read more about Woyce and her motivation to run at A Sister's Love: Bergen County Coach Runs to Raise Money and Awareness for MS
Donate through Jamie's MS Run the US page.
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