JERSEY CITY, NJ (WCBS 880) — A north Jersey couple with ties to Japan have put together a benefit 5K run on Sunday at Liberty State Park in Jersey City to raise money to help Japan’s recovery efforts.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports

Rika Kobayashi was visiting her family in Japan when a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit back in March.

“It was very scary moment,” she said.

Kobayashi said cars were shaking and then reality hit. Buildings crumbled and thousands were dead and missing. The massive quake triggered a tsunami that swallowed large parts of north-eastern Japan and damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant.

“We felt like it can’t be real,” she said.

That’s why Kobayashi and her husband Simon Locke, who works at Prudential headquarters in Newark, organized the benefit 5K run around Liberty State Park.

“It takes a village to make a difference,” said Locke, especially after a quake, tsunami and a nuclear disaster. “This is pretty unprecedented in modern history.”

They named the benefit run “Before the Snow” since they want to raise money to help before Japan’s winter hits. But ironically, the run will take place after snow is expected to hit the Tri-state area.