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New York, New York

Posted by Chrissy Horan  November 4, 2013 10:02 PM

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Rarely am I a spectator at races. When I'm not running, I'm usually volunteering. Most of the occasions where I began as a spectator, at some point I switched over to pacer/support crew, running a few miles with a friend.

But this weekend I wanted to stand on the sidewalk, cheer and take pictures. Specifically, I wanted to go and watch the New York City Marathon. Maybe it was because I bypassed a fall marathon myself this year, or maybe it was to support my regular morning training partner, Laura as she took on her 2nd marathon in 4 weeks. Maybe it was because NYC is a major marathon and I needed to see it go off successfully before I was fully ready to run Boston next spring. Whatever the reason, I just knew I wanted to be there this weekend.

The race itself didn't disappoint. I watched from just before mile 18 on 1st Ave. We picked the spot mostly because it was convenient to meet other friends afterwards in that neighborhood, but it was also where I started to collapse the year I ran the New York City Marathon, so I was hoping I could help out those runners who might have unfortunately landed in that boat this year.

As expected, the best part of being on the sidelines was, cheering for those I went to see, but equally enjoyable was seeing others cheering for their runners. Next to me, 4 girls with self-made posters waited for their dad, who came over to kiss each of them, and his wife, and grabbed a few Tylenol before hitting the road again. “Maria” had an entire fan club on both my left and right cheering for her when she arrived. Running around a 4:30 pace, she looked so happy and proud. She stopped to hug a woman who appeared to be her grandmother and blew kisses at everyone else before jumping back into the sea of runners where I saw on her back she was running “For Pop”.

A record 50,740 started the race this year. Finding runners in a race this large is no easy task. I’m glad I was able to see a few folks, including Laura, but definitely missed others. Watching the race reminded me why it's important to dress in colors that stand out and to tell my family and friends what I will be wearing. A few walkers, hobblers and shufflers reminded me why I do not wear my name on my shirt. I did not tell any of them, they were "almost there" or that they "had this" since I know I wouldn't have wanted to hear it if that were me.

The 2012 marathon was cancelled as a result of Superstorm Sandy and I was a bit surprised not to hear or see more about that during the race. I did however see a lot of BostonStrong on the course, and my boyfriend, wearing his Patriot’s jersey, got cheers from at least 3 runners.

I didn’t make it to Central Park to see the finishers where Geoffrey Mutai defended his title from 2011 and Priscah Jeptoo won for the women. But, as amazing as those elite athletes are to watch, I was kind of glad I spent most of my time cheering for those who trained for months and were only seeking to beat the goals they set for themselves.

Watching the New York City Marathon this weekend provided bit of inspiration, a bit of envy and a reminder of what I can expect less than 6 months from now when I run my next marathon.

As always, let me know what you think and what’s going on in your running community. Post comments here or email me at
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

     Chrissy Horan has been running around Boston and nearby neighborhoods since 2000. An athlete through high school and college, she has found the running community in Boston to More »

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