Meet Our NYC United Half Marathon Runners!

On Sunday March 20th, the amazing humans listed below ran the NYC United Half Marathon! They trained through all types of weather and aches (and pains) and moods and stayed the course. They also raised over $28,000 for us (exceeding the $25,000 goal), and we’re so incredibly grateful! Below are their explanations about why they ran. If you’re inspired and want to train for a marathon too on our behalf, check out the NYCRUNS Brooklyn Half & Full Marathon this April and the TCS New York City Marathon in November. 

Sam Benvegna:

I have been volunteering with Experience Camps for seven years! After losing my sister, Experience Camps gave me a community of INCREDIBLE humans, who support me, inspire me and allow me to be 100% myself, grief and all. I am running with the motivation of all of the kids who attend camp, and specifically my girls from Experience Girls in Pennsylvania Bunk C. They blew me away this summer with the kindness and compassion they showed towards each other, other campers, and me. They are my biggest motivation for this 13.1 miles, and I am so excited to be doing this FTK!!!! 

Ben Pickman:

For the past nine summers I’ve volunteered with Experience Camps, initially as bunk counselor, then a unit leader, and now as a program director. I’ve watched as our boys camp in Pennsylvania blossomed from 30 campers in our first year to more than 120 this summer. While I can’t say I’ve been much of a runner before, I can think of few communities that I’d rather train for through snow, slush and whipping winds.  

Samara Kitnick:

I’m Samara and have been volunteering at Experience Camps in California for three years! I’m so grateful to be helping create awareness around destigmatizing grief for my camp family. This year I’m running the half marathon in loving memory of my cousin Julian, my friend Daniel, and to help provide grieving kids with such an incredible support system! 

Kate Luther:

I am the Program Director for Experience Girls for girls in Pennsylvania. Over the past seven years, I have had the joy of witnessing the magic of ExCamps and the incredible space it has created for our campers. I am running to support all of our incredible campers and with the hope that we will be able to open our (bunk) doors to many more campers in years to come. FTK!!!   

Anna Messer:

Every summer at Experience Camps, I am stunned by the strength and resilience demonstrated by the campers and feel grateful that I get to witness the connections that form between bunk mates, older and younger campers, and campers and counselors. I’m running the NYC Half Marathon in honor of the 9-12 year-old boys in the lower unit that I am a counselor for, my friends and family who have experienced loss, and all the unprocessed death and grief from these last two years. 

Micky Silverman:

I’ve been involved with Experience Camps for 6+ years now, spending one week per summer as a camp counselor and helping fundraise throughout the year. Growing up, I experienced the death of my mother and sister. While I was incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends who went above and beyond to ensure my well-being, something was missing. No one else my age knew what I was going through. I was surrounded by people yet felt entirely alone. 

Sindy Weisinger:

When I first learned of Experience Camps, I realized this was something I wish was there for me.  Experience Camps reminded me that through grief, people can find empowerment and do great things.  I run for my mother.  I run for my sister.  I run for all the kids who are going to do great things.  I run for Experience Camps. 

Hila Yasur: 

I’m SO excited to be running my first half marathon with Experience Camps, in honor of my sister Maya who died in 2018. I have been a volunteer with Experience Camps since 2019 at the Michigan location. I also am a proud member of the Regional Advisory Council, and most recently the Miami Gala Chair. My week at Experience Camps every summer is my favorite week of the year and I look forward to running #FTK.

OTHER RUNNERS: Henry Frost; Caroline Luther