Posted by: Josey | October 29, 2009

The Spirit of the New York City Marathon

“That’s it, I’m goin’ in!” I yelled as I rushed to climb over the rope.

The lanky stranger had been running for hours, and I wasn’t about to let him give up and walk that one more mile. I’d clapped my hands raw but, no matter how far I followed him yelling “YOU’RE SO CLOSE!” he just didn’t believe he had it in him. Having witnessed the moment when this middle-aged man’s gallop had dragged to a walk to a limp, I somehow felt responsible. I made it my heartfelt duty to reinstate his will to race across the finish line of the New York City Marathon.

“Well, hello!” I said.

He looked down at me, jogging in my jeans and leather boots, baffled. “What on Earth are you doing?”

“I’m helping!” I answered cheerfully. “So tell me! What’s your name?”

“Uh, Richard?” he responded breathlessly.

“Great. Come on, Richard. We’re running.”

He started to pick up his pace, still unsure of what was happening.

“So tell me, Richard, where ya’ from?”

“Texas?”

“Texas? I love Texas! Okay, Texas. So, do you have any kids, Richard?”

“Uh, I have three daughters.”

“That’s wonderful! Wow, three daughters.”

We made the right turn onto Central Park South. We were just a few blocks away from the finish line now. Richard was running.

“How old are they?” I asked.

He thought about it. “They’re, uh…”

“You’re doing great, Richard! Tell me! How old are your three daughters?”

“They’re, uh…”

He paused again.

“You know what?” Richard decided. “I think I got it now.”

I don’t know where it came from—somewhere deep inside of him—but Richard was sprinting to get away from me. I happily ate his dust. And I dodged the on-coming crowd of marathoners to find a way out of the race path so I could look for Jeff, who I’d abandoned in the cheering section.

As soon as I spotted him, I started jumping and shouting: “I did it! Jeff, I did it! Did you see? I annoyed a runner into finishing the race!”

“Way to go,” he nodded sarcastically. “You could’ve been arrested.”

I ignored him.

“See?” I sighed proudly.

“Now that’s the spirit of the New York City Marathon.”

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Responses

  1. That really IS the spirit of the marathon in NYC! An annoying New Yorker, how appropriate.

  2. And Richard has a fabulous story to tell when he gets home to his 3 daughters! :)

  3. This, like the NY Marathon every year, makes me cry. It’s so neat to see people doing anything with all they’ve got. I cheered every year and ran it once myself, though no peppy onlookers took me under their wing. Richard is so lucky!

  4. Wonderful Josey, I can see you doing that… the only difference between Richard and me, is that I would stay to have a chat with you.

  5. I sooooooo missed being there this year!!!! Did you miss us? I wish I could hear Richard tell his story. What a great day for you both. Hope to see you soon!

  6. Why am I not surprised? You are a ray of sunshine!


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