Then, Sandy. The superstorm destroyed many parts of the area, and although the course was ready, threats against the participants and overall bad P.R. forced the cancellation of the ING New York City Marathon.
Given the opportunity to run again in 2013, I took it; training all over again with the 16 week schedule.
I'm a relatively new runner; having only taken it up a few years ago in earnest. I'm a slow runner; a jogger, really. I'm tenacious, though. I found that I can at least go the distance. On Sunday, November 3rd, 2013, I was ready to give it a shot. Nervous but ready.
The Staten Island ferry terminal was crowded to capacity and a little much for me to handle with all of the stomach butterflies, but we all somehow got through it and to the other side, only to wait on another long line for buses. My wife and son were with me for support but we had to part ways here. On the bus, I had the misfortune of standing and straphanging it, while the driver circled around for 10 minutes only to end up passing the street where the later runners were waiting for their buses! Right back to the beginning! The driver eventually found his way and I eventually found my way to my section of the rally area.
Nervous that I wouldn't know where to go or what to do, I cautiously walked around following signs. It was easy enough to navigate. The New York Road Runners put on an extremely organized event.
All that was left to do was run. That's easy enough! This is where it all really kicks in. Most every fellow runner was happy, friendly, and festive, but it wasn't until I encountered the spectators that I knew what it was really all about.
It started with a trickle in Brooklyn, just off the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. On some small residential street, someone at a normal volume simply said "Hey Rey!". I looked up to see who this friend of mine was, but I'd never met this man. I'd forgotten that I was wearing my name on shirt. It was at about this point that a stupid grin showed up on my face that didn't leave for miles. I basically smiled the whole 26.2 miles. The crowds were fun, funny, supportive beyond belief, and essential to my having finished at all! It was just about the best day of my life.
Thank you New York City!
I've found that first time marathoners fall into two major categories after their first race. Those who check it off their list, never to run another full marathon, and those who become addicted and immediately start planning for their next race.
Immediately, I started looking at London, Madrid, Paris, and other marathons in the states. This was the first of many.