I Heart NY

6 Nov

Almost exactly one year ago, I watched the ING New York Marathon for the first time. I barely had two 5Ks under my belt, and had never run more than that when I started watching. I was so excited to watch it, not really thinking that I’d be conquering the distance a year later. I was thrilled to see an American, Shalane Flannigan, place second in a sport dominated by Kenya and Ethiopia.

Today I am watching a live streaming of the marathon online with a new set of eyes. I watch it through the eyes of a marathoner instead of just an admiring spectator. I still watch the elite men and women runners with complete awe, but watching the “normal” people take on the 26.2 mile monster is thrilling. I know what they are about to go through, I know what they will feel in those tough, later miles. And I know the extreme joy they will experience crossing the finish line.

The New York Marathon is an amazing event in our country. It’s the largest marathon in the United States and this year is hosting 47,000 participants. It used to be a series of loops around Central Park until Fred Lebow dared to take it to all five boroughs of the city he loved. It is a spectacular event, unique from any other and one day would be a thrill to run.

I read in the book “First Marathons” an account by a runner who barely finished his first marathon. He struggled the entire time and had battled obesity and divorce, but he finished. He said he wore his marathon tee shirt and medal all week long he was so proud. He also said that while the stories of the elite runners are impressive, he thinks the most inspiring stories come from the back of the pack.

I would have to agree. As one who ran in the back of the pack, I heard a lot of great stories from those runners who were with me. Like me, they had a lot of obstacles to overcome and it was a long, difficult fight to conquer the 26.2 mile monster. While we all are different and run at paces from the extraordinary to the tortoise-like, we are all runners and we are all finishers.

So, if you get a chance today, check out the New York Marathon. Coverage is being broadcast live on UniversalSports.com and there will be a two hour special on NBC today. It is an amazing event full of inspiration, guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.

One Response to “I Heart NY”

  1. Lori (Slow Happy Runner) November 6, 2011 at 11:58 AM #

    Thanks for the reminder! As it was 37 degrees outside and I didn’t really feel like running until it warms up (maybe) later today, watching the NY marathon gave me the perfect excuse to stay in bed just a bit longer. 🙂

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