When it comes to race lotteries, my luck has historically been poor. Last Tuesday, I found out that I did not win one of the 15,000 remaining spots in the 2013 Chicago Marathon (with about a 42% probability of getting a spot, I was cautiously optimistic on my chances… which proved foolish), and for the past two years, I’ve missed out on the NYC Half Marathon. Which is why I spent my Sunday morning experiencing a race from an unfamiliar perspective: the sidelines. We took the subway to Christopher St. (mile 10-11), which provided an uncrowded yet lively vantage point (see Cheer NY squad and DJ in pictures below). Although it was inspiring to see the elite athletes whiz by, my mission was to infuse my best friend Gayle with enough energy to carry her through to the end of the race. Success: despite a ski injury that kept her sidelined for the last month, she still finished sub-2 hours! No pictures of her running by below, as my hands were occupied with an obnoxious neon green poster bearing words of encouragement. It was also very cool to catch some of my Harrier teammates in action! Being new to the team, I didn’t recognize every face, but whenever I spotted a team shirt, my cheering got (a lot) louder.
Yes, I was extremely jealous of everyone who raced yesterday, wishing I could have scored a spot, but if even one person’s race experience yesterday inspires them to graduate from sporadic recreational runner to dedicated athelete, it will be worthwhile. Just a little under a year ago, that was me. Running had always been a part of my life but never in any consistent fashion, and I had never run a race before. Then on a whim, I registered for the More/Fitness Magazine Women’s Half Marathon and an addiction was born. Clearly, I’m not the only one. It’s become harder and harder to gain entry into some of the most high-profile races, as running has gained popularity. Although that means I will sometimes get shut out of a race, someone else’s life may change for the better with that opportunity the way mine did last year. Looking back, my (relatively) newfound passion for running has been responsible for many of the best moments and developments of the past year. I wish nothing less for everyone who raced yesterday.
Wilson Kipsang in the lead, with Dathan Ritzenhein not far behind:
Caroline Rotich leading the women:
Post-work weekday run in Central Park:
My next attempt at securing a spot in a fall marathon will be when registration opens for the Marine Corps Marathon on March 27. And if that falls through, maybe Philly? I will probably skip the NYC Marathon lottery this year because I can’t bear to be devastated yet again by my rotten luck (and with all the Sandy entries, the odds are likely to be worse than ever). But as long as my 9+1 plan remains on target, I will run NYC in 2014!