Before I went to bed on Saturday night I decided I had to go for a run in Central Park before heading home on Sunday. I woke up with plenty of time before we had to catch our train and could hear tons of runners screaming and cheering in the park. My uncle's apartment where I stayed over the weekend overlooks Central Park and when I looked out the window Sunday morning I saw hundreds of runners enjoying the beautiful morning. I quickly got dressed to go for a short run but never expected my run to be so inspirational.
My dad and I walked over to the park and were greeted with hoards of happy runners, many of whom were wearing their NYC Marathon shirts. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning in New York, one that would have made for a very enjoyable marathon.
After arriving I quickly started running to warm up and also so I could run as much as possible before catching the train home. When I first started running I knew there were a lot of would-be marathoners out but I had no idea the extent of what was happening in the park.
I was amazed how as soon as I started running I felt like I fit in. I have a really hard time calling myself a runner and often feel like I stick out among runners. I feel that other runners have more experience and in general run more than me and therefore I am inferior as a runner. But while running in Central Park on Sunday morning I truly felt like I was a part of the unique marathon experience. I didn't know anyone so I hopped in with a group of runners from Mexico and chatted with them for awhile. I never would have imagined I would use all my years of Spanish while running.
As I was running I passed a large group of runners who were all wearing their NYC Marathon shirts and wearing their bibs. I found out from the runners from Mexico that a lot of runners were running the full marathon throughout Central Park. I couldn't believe just how many people actually ran a marathon on Sunday morning.
After a mile or so I left the group of runners from Mexico and sped up a bit. As I was nearing the would-be marathon finish line I had to slow to a walk because so many runners were out. The finish line was gated off so you couldn't run through it but there were tons of runners taking pictures near it.
The bleachers were still set up and were filled with both runners and spectators who were out to cheer on all the runners. A group of runners from Sweden or Norway (I think, I really can't remember which country) set up a makeshift finish line for everyone to run through. People were out with cowbells, signs, water bottles supporting all the runners who were doing what they do best.
It was during this run that I knew I needed to run a marathon this fall. Originally I was torn over whether I should run a marathon or a half marathon but this run was pure inspiration. The movie Spirit of the Marathon could have been about the run in Central Park on Sunday. There was so much energy and emotion among all the runners. I was so proud to be a part of such a wonderful community full of dedicated and motivational people.