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"I'm excited. I'm nervous, but I'm really looking forward to it," said DiCrescenzo, who is making her marathon debut here. "I do like that New York City is familiar to me. Hopefully, that's going to be an advantage for me."
DiCrescenzo's ties to the marathon date back to her days at Columbia, when she would join her teammates and volunteer at the race. One year she helped collect clothes at the start on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge; another she handed out water. Seeing all of the elites helped set a goal of one day running alongside them.
Choosing to debut in New York City was an easy one. In addition to going to college here, the Illinois native trains under coach Frank Gagliano as part of the New Jersey-New York Track Club. There is no place where DiCrescenzo feels more comfortable than on the streets of the Big Apple.
"I'm not intimidated by the City, like the crowds and the noise. I experience that on a daily basis. So that's really not going to be too much out of my element. Hopefully, that will be a calming and grounding thing for me," she said. "This is where I really came into my own as a runner in college, and then more recently as a professional."
DiCrescenzo has made a name for herself on the track in the 3000m steeplechase and in cross country, representing the USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in both 2009 and 2013. At 30, DiCrescenzo felt it was time to transition to the roads, particularly the marathon.
"My desire to do it really came about naturally, and it really started from the beginning of this year," she said. "I feel like I'm at the point in my career where I really genuinely desire to do a marathon, and I also feel like I will regret if I never do one when I'm in shape."
In her marathon build-up, DiCrescenzo won the Hamptons Half-Marathon in 1:15:05, running the race as a progression workout. Having increased her mileage in anticipation of Sunday's race, DiCrescenzo hopes to run six-minute miles for 26 miles. That would put her on 2:37:12 pace.
"She's ready to go," said coach Gagliano in a confident tone. "She's very, very happy with how it's gone."
Going into the race, DiCrescenzo looks forward to entering Central Park and the final five miles most.
"That's where I do my training every single day," she said, an eager smile crossing her face. "I want to still have some gas left in the tank at that point and be smiling and happy to be there. Those are my stomping grounds."
Photo: Delilah DiCrescenzo before speaking to the press at the 2013 ING New York City Marathon (photo by Chris Lotsbom for Race Results Weekly)