Two years ago one of my life dreams was realised when I got to run New York Marathon. I know that line sounds cliched and I probably would have crossed it out in red pen if I was editing it, but there really is no better way to write it. Ever since I started running, I dreamt of doing this race, and year after year I entered the Lottery and didn’t get in, after which I was granted a place after having “unsuccessfully” entered for three years in a row. I remember I once wrote to the organisers, pleading to grant me and entry because I loved running so much. This little bit of chutzpah got me nowhere – I suspect they get this same type of request all the fricking time.
We had to defer our entries because you were born a month and a half before, so in 2010 we lined up with thousands, in the same spot where hundreds of thousands had started and run through in the years before us. It was a dream run even though I was so unfit and walked so much. I took in as much as possible, and sure got my $300 worth in entry fee (make that around $600 including the year of the deferral).
It was like a surreal and spectacular tour through the five burroughs, except we were cheered and uplifted from start to finish. And while we run, you were with your aunty and uncle who had come from Toronto, and were sightseeing and visiting FAO Schwartz, one of the best toy shops in the city.
It was a privilege running it, and I will also hold it as one my best life memories ever. I laughed and I shed tears, and I saw how the whole city came together to cheer us through, and make us feel like heroes, much like at Comrades Marathon.
When this year’s marathon was cancelled owing to a hurricane and its devastating aftereffects, I was sad for the runners, and sad for the city. Hopes vanished and money lost for everyone, but just as significant, an experience unlived for runners and spectators.
I hope that the anger, sadness and fear subside, and that the city and the people recover soon.
And I hope we will one day get to experience the bagels, the burroughs and that special place again.
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