Runners tackle New York City Marathon for many causes and reasons

Runners pounded the pavement in Staten Island, the starting point for 48th annual New York City Marathon, on Sunday morning.

"I'm a midwife and I believe every mother counts," runner Sascha James-Conterelli said. "So I am doing this for maternal mortality and raising awareness that maternal mortality is important in the United States."

Each person has a different, unique story. Mina Guli, 48, plans to run 100 marathons in 100 consecutive days, starting in New York.

"I want to raise global awareness of our water crisis," Guli said. "Most people don't know that our planet is running out of usable water."

There are more marathon participants this year than ever before. More than 50,000 runners came from all over the world and more than a million spectators cheered them on throughout the five boroughs.

FDNY Battalion Chief Joe Downey is running in honor of his late father, Ray, an FDNY deputy chief who died while leading a rescue operation on 9/11.

"He's always looking down on us. We used to come watch him back in the '80s when he ran his marathons," Downey said. "Very tight family. We do things together."

In January 2009, Patrick Harten was having a typical day at work when he got a call from pilot Chesley Sullenberger. Harten was the air traffic controller on duty and helped guide Sully's Miracle on the Hudson flight. On this Sunday, Harten was ready to run knowing his friend Sully would meet him with a medal at the finish line.

"This is amazing. The whole experience leading up to this race has just been fantastic," Harten said.

Step by step, story by story. Each runner made a mark on this city in his or her own way.