How Craig Melvin’s Niece Helped Him Finish His 1st NYC Marathon

By Chris Ariens 

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Among the 50,000 runners in today’s New York City marathon were hundreds of first-timers, including NBC News national correspondent and MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin. “My running is casual and I’m not one of those people who finds it especially cathartic,” Melvin told TVNewser after the race. “I do it mainly because I’ve found it’s the easiest way to keep off weight.”

But like many marathoners running today, Melvin is also doing it for a cause. Two years ago, he lost his 3-year-old niece, Jasmine, to a rare form of Ewing’s Sarcoma. “Sloan Kettering was a great resource for my family so when an opportunity popped up a few months ago to raise money through Fred’s Team for cancer research at the hospital, I couldn’t say no,” said Melvin who raised nearly $14,000.

Before the race, Melvin got a boost from his weekend Today show colleagues as he reported from the starting line on Staten Island. In the final stretch he was cheered on by his wife, ESPN anchor Lindsay Czarniak along with their young son, who held up a poster of Jasmine which gave him “a much-needed push.”

“My niece helped me get through the race, especially the last four miles,” Melvin says.