The New York Marathon is one of my favorite marathons. The setting is gorgeous, and it’s so exhilarating to be in the heart of Manhattan, surrounded by 30,000 runners from all over the world, running through the autumn streets of Manhattan. It’s just fantastic! Indescribable. Yet, while the scale of the event adds thrill and excitement, and makes the New York Marathon one of the most fun filled events I’ve ever participated in, it also makes the New York marathon one of the most difficult.
When I ran my first New York Marathon 12 years ago, it took me ten minutes just to get to the starting line and 12 minutes to run my first mile. In a crowd that large, you’re not free to just get out there and run. You have to shuffle, push, pull, and sometimes creep your way through the other runners. It’s a challenge to do everything, including get to the water stations and the restrooms. Unless you’re way up front in the lower digits, there’s nowhere to go.
So you really need to remember that races like this are not about winning, or about how quickly you run, but about the amazing and memorable experience you are having by just being part of something so massive and profound. Racing is about your training, and about showing up and being part of a moment. It’s about finishing something that you set out to do, no matter how long it takes you to cross the finish line.
Congratulations to my client Tom, who began training for his first marathon two months ago at the age of 48, and my client Samara, a cancer survivor, who both achieved a new personal peak in this year’s New York Marathon. You are both champions.