Last Sunday I ran the New York City Marathon and it was probably the best sporting event I have ever taken part in. Having run several of the larger marathons, including Boston and Chicago, my expectations of running New York were not that big. However, as my day unfolded on Sunday I was amazed at what I experienced.
First of all, I had heard that New York, more so than any other marathon, is considered “The People’s Marathon”, I now understand why. From the time I left my hotel at 5:30am until the time I returned at 3:00pm I was surrounded by “friends”. I made friends on the subway, the ferry to Staten Island, in the runners village, on the course and then in the finishing corrals. I listened to people’s stories of how they got there, why they wanted to run a marathon and what their dreams were after the marathon. People coming together on one day for a common goal…to complete a life’s dream.
I think because entry into the New York Marathon is a lottery, which means anyone can run it if they get in, allows the everyday person to take part in something spectacular and for that, there is an excitement I had never experienced before.
What did I take away from this experience? I realized, as I often do when I take part in events like this, that when you bring people together and particularly when they are doing something challenging to them, it draws them together.
This is the type of community we strive to build everyday at each of our YMCA’s. The more challenges we present them with, whether it be with a challenging class, workout or program, it encourages them to gain inspiration and strength from those around them and this in turn, strengthens our Y community.
So…let’s all continue to raise the bar high for our members…stretch them beyond what they ever thought they were capable of!!