This past weekend, I ran my 40th marathon!  I did not know until a few months ago that the NYC Marathon would be my 40th.  I usually lose track of my count and have to go look in my book.

Since it was my 40th, I wanted to really enjoy the 26.2 miles and not race.  Race hard=have lots of pain. Take it easy=have lots of fun.  My goal was to run a 3:37-3:40.  Running a negative split to earn free shoes from Strava also would have been nice, but I positive split by about 2 minutes, so no free shoes for me.  Weather was perfect and the crowds were amazing!  I felt great until Mile 23 going up 5th Avenue.  The quads cramped like always, but I kept running because that was the fastest way to the finish line.  I do not usually walk during a race because I know I will have a very hard time running again if I stop to walk.  I have learned to run through the cramps over the years and they eventually go away or my pain tolerance goes up as I continue running.  It was great to finish strong all the way to the finish line and I was all smiles as I raised my arms up in victory.  I told Peter Ciaccia that I just ran my 14th NYC Marathon and he said “Next year, you’ll be part of the streaker club!”

I ran my first marathon in 2002. In 14 years, I have run in 8 different states (CA, FL, IL, MA, NY, OH, PA, SC) and 3 different countries (Canada, Hong Kong, and UK).  The majority of my marathons have been NYC and Boston, so I did not travel to many states.

People often ask “Why do you do it?” “Is it worth it?” The answer is always “Because I love it and yes, it’s worth it!”  I have met so many great friends through running, traveled to fun places, and I met my husband through running!  I love the challenge and each race experience is so different.

The NYC Marathon has been on my schedule every year since 2002.  How do I manage to run NYC every year?  I have gotten into the NYC Marathon through the lottery, time qualifier (when the 1/2 qualifying time was 1:37), and I have done the 9+1.  Since 2002, running 15 NYC Marathons to get guaranteed (non complimentary) entry for life was a goal.  At that time, 15 did not seem like a huge number, but having just run #14, I am amazed that I have stuck with it for so many years!  Just for comparison, to get guaranteed entry at the Chicago Marathon, you have to run 5 in the last 10 years.  That sounds so much easier than 15!

The NYC Marathon is my favorite marathon and I have so many good memories from the race.  There were also painful memories of legs cramping and falling down 2 times in the past 14 years, but I have loved each race every year.  I am not one to look at data and statistics, but from experience, many things have changed since my first tun in 2002.  Here are just a few fun facts from 2002 off the top of my head:

  • The 2002 marathon shirt was a cotton t-shirt.
  • Champion chip was the timing chip and we had to secure it to our sneakers to get an official time.
  • The 2002 marathon did not have a title sponsor.  The race was simply “The New York City Marathon”.  (ING became the title sponsor in 2003)
  • Meb also ran his 1st NYC Marathon in 2002 with me. =)
  • The Staten Island Ferry was not an option as transportation to the start.
  • The marathon expo started on Wednesday. =)
  • The day before the marathon, NYRR had a run only for international runners.
  • I finished in 4:38:56!  (I ran this year’s race in exactly an hour faster! 3:38:56!)

Technology and social media has changed the marathon culture tremendously over the years.  I am usually resistant to change, but I think the changes have been positive despite race registration being more difficult for popular races.  I do not know the numbers, but I know that the number of people running marathons has increased since 2002 and I always love welcoming people to the club.  More people are trying to lead active and healthier lifestyles, which is great!

Marathoning has become a lifestyle for me.  I am always “in training” and running never feels like “work” (unless it’s speed work!).  I have a closet that is only for running clothes (I might have more running clothes than regular clothes.).  I love going on race-cations! I love that my husband also runs and supports my crazy obsession.  He is the best because I always get a little crazy (from excitement!) during marathon weekend.  The NYC Marathon and Boston Marathon has been part of my schedule for so long that it would seem weird if I spectated instead of ran (that will never happen!)  My friends know that I run long on weekends and they know where I will be the first weekend of November and Patriot’s Day in April.

What’s next?  A new country next year!  Entry into 2 streaking clubs next year (Not that type of streaking!  Get your mind out of the gutter!)  My 10th consecutive Boston Marathon and my 15th NYC Marathon!!


Race Results:

Men’s Winner: Ghirmay Ghebreslassie 2:07:51

Women’s Winner: Mary Keitany 2:24:26

Total Finishers: 51,388 (Female: 21,457; Male: 29,931) : Unofficial numbers from NYRR


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