(Aboard Delta Flight 2989)- This time yesterday I was passing the 10 mile mark in the New York Marathon. Sitting here at 34,000 feet I am continuing to relive what for me was the experience of a lifetime. This year, by design my goal was, first to finish and second, to find out if running a marathon was something I would enjoy. Both questions have been answered.
We were less than 2 miles miles into the race on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge when the second question was answered. I looked to my left and saw the view of Manhattan and knew I was hooked. The second question was answered as I crossed the finish line in Central Park 5 hours after starting.
If you are reading this and have ever thought of running a marathon I urge you to follow you heart. I can think of no better first time event than New York. What a thrill as the PA announcer says "runners the streets of New York are yours", the cannon fires and Frank Sinatra sings New York, New York and you are a part of the world's greatest marathon.
Coming off the bridge you encounter the cheering crowds and the first of 145 bands. The miles begin to click as you settle into your pace. In addition to the support from the side of the street, there is a sense of a common goal among all the runners. We can do this and we will do this.
When we got to 1st Avenue it was unreal the noise and the size of the crowds. One spectator was holding a sign saying, "free hugs", and more than one female runner was taking him up on his offer and this brought on more cheers. The energy is awesome! About 78th street Danielle Santoro, who used to be with our sports department lent her support to me and others.
Fast forward to mile 21. A quite attractive female was running on my left was clearly reaching down for some extra guts. Rachel was from Las Vegas and had run Chicago a year ago and was finding this marathon more difficult. We decided to run the final miles together and I told her to set the pace. Little did we know the most difficult parts of the course turned out to be what seemed like a forever upslope on 5th Avenue just before turning into the park. We joked, talked about our training, jobs and anything else to keep our minds occupied. We crossed the finish line together, sharing a common dream. My plan had been the blow out the final 3 miles, but it was worth the added time to share the road with this fellow runner.
The New York Road Runners do a totally first rate job of organizing every aspect of the event, which this year raised 31 million dollars for charity.
To the warm and wonderful people of New York THANK YOU for cheering and I and others chased a dream and for making us feel so welcome and so special! Thanks again Ben Pine for sharing this together.
Yes I plan to run the 2012 New York Marathon! Check an item off your bucket list too.