What is more beautiful than tens of thousands of people from all over the world pursuing the same thing at the same time in the same place? What is more beautiful than millions of other people putting aside whatever else they may have going on to cheer for people they may or may not know, to encourage them, to let them know that their efforts have not gone unnoticed? What is more beautiful than getting to participate, if only for a few hours, in an activity that bears a striking resemblance to what I believe life is all about: enduring and enduring well through good times and bad, encouraging each other to keep going and trying, to find out what you are capable of, and to inspire others who you may cross paths with only briefly along the way?
There are innumerable stories that come from any marathon. There are people who are engaging in a lifetime achievement while for others it is just another day at work. Some are chasing time goals, some are hoping to run consistently, some just want to finish. And they run along side each other. What is more beautiful than that?
And with all that beauty flowing through the streets of New York, there’s a lot of love. A lot of sweat, probably some blood, plenty of tears, but also a lot of love.
My sister stood near mile 22 and spread the love with this poster, and she got plenty back in return. Not only in the form of kisses and proposals, but in motivation to be better. In her own words: “I think marathon spectatorship is one of the most worthwhile things you can do with your time. So inspiring! I can’t tell you how many of the amazing runners had me near tears. The blind guy? Bawling. Cancer survivor? Pass the tissues. Amputee? I hear the call to action. Seriously, one of my best Sunday afternoons ever was cheering at this race.”
And that is why the New York City Marathon is awesome.