One year ago this weekend I woke up at 2 am, got on the subway and headed to Manhattan to start, what I was should would be, a wonderful running journey. I was a guide for an Achilles International Foundation wheelchair athlete and was able to help that athlete go through all five Burroughs and finish at Central Park. The hills throughout this course were so tough on wheelchair athletes that I could feel the pain and strain that he had to go through to reach the top of each one.
Running the NYC marathon was the most unique and rewarding running experience of my life. Not only was I amazed at how many people came to cheer us on through the 26.2 miles, but I couldn’t believe how much the city embraced the race and allowed it to rule the whole city for a day. This race bring NYC to, as close as possible, a stand still every year. So many city streets are blocked off, bridges are closed, and Manhattan is surrounded by runners yet the people come out to cheer and enjoy the happiness and agony that they runners experience throughout the course.
I had never been to many of the parts of NYC that we ran through and was so excited to get to know the city outside of lower Manhattan. As a runner I got to see so many neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Each of these neighborhoods was unique and had their own qualities. Some had tons of fans cheering us on, while other were quiet and relaxing. Being early in my running career this race will serve as a turning point where I went from loving running to loving the ability to run. This race was an experience that I hope all runners can experience at least once. The NYC marathon serves as a reminder to me of the freedom that running can provide and the ability it provides for me to explore the world.
I am sad that I am not preparing for the race again this week but I know that in the future I will definitely run NYC again. For all of those who are running good luck, and for any runner who is thinking about running NYC, definitely do it. The benefit is definitely worth all the hard work.