I’ve never been a big crier but that all changed three years ago, when I ran my first ING NYC Marathon with Team for Kids.
I cried at the start in Staten Island, listening to Frank Sinatra. I cried entering Manhattan for the first time, turning onto First Avenue and hearing the roar of spectators after the quiet of the Queensborough Bridge. I cried when I saw my parents and big brother on 93rd and First Avenue. I cried passing the cheering section of the kids we sponsor and raise funds for, with their tiny outstretched hands giving high fives (some saying, “Way to go, run fast!” And then some even saying, “Thank you!!) After that, I could barely keep running because my vision was so blurred.
A total stranger shouted my name (always write your name on your shirt!) just when I needed some encouragement to dig deep, but that made me cry again.
Oh, and that finish line! I can definitely admit there were lots more tears at the finish line. I was in awe, and just so damn happy and proud of myself for running a marathon. I remember thinking I can really do anything now! And if I encourage just one more runner to have the opportunity to experience what I felt, to essentially become a more courageous and determined person, then I’ve succeeded as a TFK mentor.
Perhaps it’s a tiny bit cheesy to admit, but it really was and continues to be one of the coolest days of my life. It’s a transcendence experience, and the magnitude and emotion of that day forever impacts everyone involved.