Monday, November 06, 2006

The New York Marathon

Yesterday was the first time I attended a major endurance event as a spectator and I came away from the day more inspired than if I had done it myself. For pure emotion, the New York City Marathon is the most incredible event in the world and I intend to run it every year that I get in until I can't run anymore

Reasons to be inspired, part three.

1) After only two years of running, my dad destroyed the course in 4 hours 39 minutes. This from someone who has seen me run countless races and always proclaimed that I was crazy. Who two years ago scoffed at the idea of running more than three miles. Who five months ago dreaded the idea after his first hot half marathon. Who cautiously was not ready to commit to actually doing it until two weeks before the race. Well he did it and I think he is incredible. He'll deny it but he will be on the starting line in 2007.

2) The average triathlete, particularly Ironman participant, is me. A 41-year old white male, white collar worker. There is nothing wrong with this but how inspirational is it to look next to you in a race and see you. Standing at the 24 mile mark of the New York Marathon was like watching a cheesy John Kerry '04 ad but it wasn't staged. Fat people, skinny people, old, young, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, they were all there. Some of the fat people looked great, the skinny people dead on their feet. Running is the sport of the people.

3) Lance has moved beyond celebrity to a place where Tiger, Michael and Ali never crossed. He does things that amaze and inspire in part because they are so human. The celebrity as marathoner is nothing new. Diddy did it two years ago, Oprah before that. But they were a footnote to the race. Yes I am obsessed with Lance and hyperaware of any mention of him. However, he was THE story of the 2006 NY Marathon. There was the Lance cam, the headlines, the crowd attention. It was incredible.

4) Ironman races take over the communities in which they are held but this isn't shocking. Lake Placid, Kona, Panama City and Coeur D'Alene are blips on the map. The NY Marathon takes over a city of 10-20 million, for a weekend. Everyone is a fan of the marathon and the human spirit in NYC in late October/November.

Everyone should do the NY Marathon once in their life. It is a transcendent event; I am committed to crossing the finish line next November at 1:09 pm.