As most everyone knows by now, the New York City Marathon did not happen last Sunday. This news was extremely disappointing for me when I heard on Friday night. In fact, I was pretty much in shock. My heart broke for myself along with all the other athletes that traveled to this race and spent many months training.
All week I understood why the race should be canceled. I knew there were people hurting and people who needed the assistance. But when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the race should go as planned and it would be GOOD for the city, I went ahead with my trip – as did many other runners.
As I said earlier, I understood the cancellation and also began to agree with it. My only wish with the cancellation was that it had happened earlier in the week, before so many people spent so much money to get to the city and stay in the city. I know that I would’ve gone to NYC regardless of the race being canceled, but knowing sooner could’ve saved many others time and money who would have canceled their plans.
Although the race did not take place on Sunday, I still had the opportunity to be a part of something pretty amazing. I was invited by two of my Twitter friends (Beth and Kristine) to join them for a run through Central Park. They were so kind to include me in their running group, and it turned into the most amazing experience!!
Central Park on Sunday morning was a sea of runners, mostly wearing their orange marathon shirts. Some people even pinned their race numbers to their shirts and wore costumes (I saw Buddy the Elf!).
As soon as you entered the park, you could feel the enthusiasm of the runners. Everyone was smiling and doing what they love to do – run. People were there spectating as they would’ve on race day, and there were even faux water stations setup for us to get a drink. There was nothing negative in the air on Sunday. In fact, I am pretty sure you got a contact runners high if you looked at all of us.
Kristine and Beth made sure I was able to run the significant miles of the race (24 – 26.2) and also run to the finish line (seriously, you girls were AMAZING!). So many people were swarming the finish. They were taking photos, chanting and cheering. The experience nearly brought tears to my eyes.
The thing I realized after this experience was that even though things don’t always go our way or as planned, it doesn’t mean that we can’t make the best of it. Every runner I saw on Sunday was negatively impacted by the race being canceled as well, but that didn’t mean that they sat around sulking all weekend. They got out there and celebrated their love of running with all the others that share that same passion.
Even though the “Official” 2012 NYC Marathon will not happen, the “Unofficial” 2012 NYC Marathon was still an amazing experience. And it is an experience that I will not ever forget.