Running the NYC Marathon (or any marathon) was never on my radar.
Even as I got more excited about running and racing, the half marathon distance still felt (and feels) like a big enough goal.
So my obsession with the NYC marathon stems not from my own personal goal of crushing it, but because I love the place NYC turns into when the marathon comes to town. I love reading marathon training blogs. And I love watching the marathon and cheering on the runners.
Last year was my first NYC Marathon experience. I watched friend/blog commenter extraordinare Camilla (or “Camill” her blog nom de plume) run and it was incredibly fun. We hopped around the city from Lafayette Street in Brooklyn to First Ave to Fifth Ave to spot her and to cheer for everyone who ran by. I was incredibly moved. Watching one person DO THE THING they’ve been working on for months is a really special thing. Now multiple that by 50,000 people.
For me, the marathon brings out the best in the city. I love screaming the names of total strangers who have their first names printed on their shirts. I love seeing kids cheer for their parents. (And I love when the parent spots their kids and stops running to give them a big hug.) I love when runners find their friends holding signs, made just for them. And I love the stories of runners finding encouragement from each other and from strangers.
So many people participate and spectate but despite that, it doesn’t feel anonymous. I feel like I am a part of something: a giant running community with New York City as its base; other people who think of Central Park as a giant track. It make me want to throw around terms like “Engineers Gate” and “The Reservoir” just to see the recognition in strangers’ faces.
It was probably around my 7th New York Road Runners race in 2014 that I realized I was really close to qualifying (through the 9+1 program) for the NYC Marathon in 2015. I am not committed to running it by any means, but it seems good to keep the option open since it’s so hard to get in through the lottery. (And I have a good case of marathon fever). So I signed up for two more races (which I would’ve done anyway) and I signed up to volunteer (which was an incredibly fun experience).
This weekend I was scheduled to run my 9th race, officially qualifying for the marathon next year. (Perfect symmetry to run the 9th race on marathon weekend.) Whatever is going on with my ankle that prevented me from running the Hamptons Half is still going on. It’s been hurting on and off (mostly on) for the last 6 weeks. Originally the doctor said I could still spin and slowly work running back in. But last week it started to really hurt so now I am scheduled to get an MRI.
Having an injury sucks. But I ran the 5K anyway because well because it doesn’t hurt THAT badly. And I like to finish what I started. It was wet and cold but an incredible rare opportunity to run through the closed off streets of New York in the Dash to the Finish 5K.
It’s exciting to think that it’s in my court. I have the ticket to run next year’s marathon if I choose.
Whether I run it or not next year, I love Marathon Day in New York. Congrats to everyone who ran!