Caneel Bay staffer raising donations with marathon run

Carolyn Rebeck, sales manager for Caneel Bay Resort, is combining her personal and professional lives by running in the upcoming New York City Marathon as a fundraiser for Friends of Virgin Islands National Park.

Caneel has pledged to donate 50 cents for every dollar Rebeck raises, up to $1,000. Her fundraising goal is $3,000. The race is one week away and already she has raised $2,900.

Rebeck, 27, has run the Chicago Marathon twice, the Brooklyn Half Marathon, and, for the first time this year, St. John's 8 Tuff Miles.

"That was so hard," she said.

The most recent race was Chicago just three weeks ago. At that race she clocked in at 4 hours, 40 minutes, but she said she was going slow to save herself for the New York race. The previous year, her first marathon, she came in at 4:20:00.

A New York resident, Rebeck entered the annual lottery for the city's marathon one year ago. When she got the news that she won a spot, she began to think about how she could use the opportunity to do the most good.

"I was lucky enough to get in and decided to link my professional life and personal life together," Rebeck said.

The race will be a fundraiser for the park -- through the nonprofit Friends of V.I. National Park -- and she will be decked out in the turquoise and white Caneel Bay Resort colors and logo.

"For both personal and professional reasons, the V.I. National Park really holds value for me," Rebeck said.

Caneel Bay Resort is on national park land, and the resort and the park work hand in hand to preserve St. John's cultural and natural resources. The nonprofit Friends of V.I. National Park share that goal, providing programs and funding initiatives to engage the community in the park and its resources.

"It's a great show of support for what we do in protecting and preserving the park," Joe Kessler, president of Friends of V.I. National Park said.

He said the Friends will be watching and cheering her on on Nov. 1.

The money raised will be a general donation to the nonprofit. Friends of V.I. National Park runs a number of programs including eco-camps for children to study marine and terrestrial ecosystems; SKIP (School Kids in the Park) designed to familiarize V.I. students with their National Park through hands-on learning and site visits; creating and maintaining accessible park trails; scholarship funds, and more.

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