How many Chickfila’s are there in New York City?

One. That’s right.
There is exactly one Chickfila in NYC.
But we found it! Haha. It is on the NYU campus, in a food court. I dragged my mom down there after I had my blood work and radiation done today, and on your left you can see it in all of its glory! What a beautiful sight to behold!

I heard a great story from my dad today, and I’m copying and pasting it below. It is about a man named Cliff Young and the Westfield Ultra Marathon held in Australia.

Every year, Australia hosts 543.7-mile (875-kilometer) endurance racing from Sydney to Melbourne. It is considered among the world’s most grueling ultra-marathons. The race takes five days to complete and is normally only attempted by world-class athletes who train specially for the event. These athletes are typically less than 30 years old and backed by large companies such as Nike.

In 1983, a man named Cliff Young showed up at the start of this race. Cliff was 61 years old and wore overalls and work boots. To everyone’s shock, Cliff wasn’t a spectator. He picked up his race number and joined the other runners.

The press and other athletes became curious and questioned Cliff. They told him, “You’re crazy, there’s no way you can finish this race.” To which he replied, “Yes I can. See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn’t afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I’d always catch them. I believe I can run this race.”

When the race started, the pros quickly left Cliff behind. The crowds and television audience were entertained because Cliff didn’t even run properly; he appeared to shuffle. Many even feared for the old farmer’s safety.

All of the professional athletes knew that it took about 5 days to finish the race. In order to compete, one had to run about 18 hours a day and sleep the remaining 6 hours. The thing is, Cliff Young didn’t know that!

When the morning of the second day came, everyone was in for another surprise. Not only was Cliff still in the race, he had continued jogging all night.

Eventually Cliff was asked about his tactics for the rest of the race. To everyone’s disbelief, he claimed he would run straight through to the finish without sleeping.

Cliff kept running. Each night he came a little closer to the leading pack. By the final night, he had surpassed all of the young, world-class athletes. He was the first competitor to cross the finish line and he set a new course record.

When Cliff was awarded the winning prize of $10,000, he said he didn’t know there was a prize and insisted that he did not enter for the money. He ended up giving all of his winnings to several other runners, an act that endeared him to all of Australia.

In the following year, Cliff entered the same race and took 7th place. Not even a displaced hip during the race stopped him.

Cliff came to prominence again in 1997, aged 76, when he attempted to raise money for homeless children by running around Australia’s border. He completed 6,520 kilometers of the 16,000-kilometer run before he had to pull out because his only crew member became ill. Cliff Young passed away in 2003 at age 81.

Today, the “Young-shuffle” has been adopted by ultra-marathon runners because it is considered more energy-efficient. At least three champions of the Sydney to Melbourne race have used the shuffle to win the race. Furthermore, during the Sydney to Melbourne race, modern competitors do not sleep. Winning the race requires runners to go all night as well as all day, just like Cliff Young.

What a great story! I especially like the part where he said he didn’t even know there was a prize and gave it away. The man just wanted to race!

As a final note, this is a picture that I took on my final night in the Hope Lodge. It is of the church that was on the street behind us, so 31st street. Not having a tripod, I did my best to hold the camera steady, but it wasn’t working so I just started playing around. The next day, once I got the jittery images on the computer, I combined them for this result, which I didn’t remember, and haven’t seen, until I was reviewing some of my images today. It’s kind of crazy, but so was that day! It was the Tuesday I don’t remember, and looking back, I think this image sums up that day pretty well! It also reminds me of some of the weird effects I used to achieve messing around in the dark room in highschool, back when I used to actually develop my own film. I like how the cross at the top still ended up in sharp focus while everything else is tripled up, blurry and crazy.
I hope you like it!

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7 Responses to How many Chickfila’s are there in New York City?

  1. Maria Garza says:

    Hey, Rob. I love this inspirational story, and it’s just like your Dad to know it! Stay warm in NYC. All things considered, it’s a pretty special place to spend the Christmas season. Thank you for sharing the Christmas scenes through your eyes and the camera’s lens. :-)

  2. janie redfearn morris says:

    Hi Rob, Love the story. What an inspiration. I am sure that you know one of Daddy’s favorite movies was CHARIOTS OF FIRE. Eric Liddell ran for the right reasons as well and he was such a witness. And YES! Definitely use this photo. It is very unique and intriguing. Have a blessed day. All our love and prayers. Janie

  3. Michael Cambardella says:

    Glad you’re still able to get a taste of the South up there!

  4. Peggy Redfern says:

    Love the photo and the Cliff story! Very inspiring.

  5. Peggy Guthrie says:

    Hi, Rob. Yes. I love your interpretation of the photo. I would love to have had you in English class! Praying for you daily and more. I gave my doctor your website.

  6. marques says:

    Well thank goodness you’ve got Chic Fil-A! Talk about a blessing. We have only one here in Chicago as well…it’s actually not even in the city; it’s out in the burbs…an hour 1/2 train ride away..I haven’t been yet, because I’m wondering if there’s a limit to my love for waffle fries…is 90 minutes on a train too much for the awesomeness of Chic Fil -A ?? Not sure…do they have sweet tea at yours?

  7. Steve Johnson says:

    Great Story about the Young Shuffle. Your Dad has shared that one at work too.

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