I had the incredible opportunity to return to the ING New York City Marathon for the 8th year this past Sunday. The only problem was, I participating from the sidelines.
Any distance runner knows of this fantastic marathon, and those that have had the great fortune to run it will tell you that there are 5 boroughs to run through, 42.195KM between the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and the finish line in Central Park, 48,000+ runners standing shoulder to shoulder with you at the Start Area (and growing yearly), 100,000 rejection slips to those who entered the lottery, an estimated 2,500,000 live fans lining the streets and more than 300,000,000 international viewers enjoying from the comfort of a chair. That’s quite the event!
I should say that I have run this marathon 6 times, so to watch it a few times and support friends and clients is actually quite incredible in itself. Plus, it is a little easier on the feet. Not much, but a little, because to sit during such an event, especially for an avid marathoner, is quite difficult.
The sheer energy at the finish line, compounded by the determination as the runners pound their way through the final 400 meters while the huge crowd cheers them on, is in a word, exhilarating! To be so close as to feel the heat coming off of the runners, to sense their grit and determination as they surge towards their victory, is a very special gift indeed!
The runners come from around the world representing more than 100 countries. They are running to beat their devils, their addictions, their fears. They are running to show not the world nor the doubters they can do it, they are running to prove to themselves that they can!
They are running because they put in the months upon months upon months of the arduous labor involved in training for a marathon. They sacrificed sleep, nights out, and sweets and instead opted for ice baths, physical therapy and blisters. They were devoted not only to the sport, but the betterment of their bodies.
The marathon is not just a physical journey – it is also a psychological adventure that reaches far beyond anything we thought we may be capable of, and shows us exactly what we are capable of.
To the 130 runners that accompanied me to the 2011 ING New York City Marathon, and, beat that devil, congratulations! To those thinking that one day you will want to take on the adventure – there is no time like the present – register today!