It’s a big sports day. Many of our New England readers will be glued to their sets this afternoon watching the undefeated Pats and Colts square off. I’m not interested in the NFL, but even I’m excited about this matchup. Brady-Manning is our latter day Montana-Marino, and we’ve even got a Fouts/Favre thing going on the side. But for me, and for most New Yorkers, the biggest sporting event of the day, and maybe the most joyful sporting event of the year, is the NYC Marathon. The Marathon’s genius is that anyone who applies can participate; those nutty enough to run 26.2 miles can do so in the same race as the greatest runners in the world; the rest of us, in each of the city’s five boroughs, get to cheer them on. It feels great. New York has a reputation as a tough, unfriendly place, but on Marathon Day all the cliches about cynicism and the city are trampeled under some 80,000 besneakered feet and a million happy spectators. I grew up on this event: my childhood home is in on First Avenue in Manhattan, just short of the 17-mile mark. My uncle Gene ran it up into his 70s. Today, for the first time, I watched from Brooklyn, where I live now, with my family. Above is a shot of Paula Radcliffe charging down Fourth Avenue. (She went on to victory, and this after having a kid in January—amazing.) It’s pretty great to be so close to the athletes, and not just the elite runners. The whole day is a celebration, and the fearmongers and naysayers get no traction. I’d bet 95 percent of the people who came out to watch went home thinking about going for it next year, and even if they don’t it doesn’t really matter. What the Marathon celebrates, more than just long distance running, is possibility; it’s a reminder that with determination, hard work, and some support along the way, even the most Olympian task is possible. Something for a certain GM to keep in mind.
A few more images after the jump.
The view from Third Street. Go! Go! Go!
All downhill from here. (The 7 mile mark)
A sign along the route. Well, they are quick….
Actually, not that active. A few blocks away the crowds are several rows deep, but the surrounding neighborhood is blessedly quiet.
Nobody home. Maybe they’re out watching the race.
What’s behind the green door? The secret Kenyan marathon strategy session, no doubt…..