As I sat in JFK airport waiting for my flight to go back home, I reminisced about all of the sight, sounds and even smells of this year's NYC marathon. There were so many things occurring all at once, so many people, it was easy to get lost in the crowd. I had the opportunity to be apart of the forty-fourth NYC marathon, which had over 50,000 runners starting and finishing the race, making the 2014 NYC marathon the largest marathon field ever. This was my first time ever running in the NYC marathon, running for PKD in the Run for PKD program. With over 16 participants on the team, together we were able to raise close to $60,000 for PKD. There were over 200 charities, people were raising money for and together everyone raised a total of over 8 million dollars for all their causes. I am amazed that the city of NYC was able to accommodate the 50,000 plus runners and their friends and family. I was amazed how organized the race was getting all of the runners to the start line and am amazed by all the efforts that were made by everyone to reach their fundraising goals and finish the race. Out of the 50,000 plus runners, over 99% finished the race.
This race was definitely the coldest, windiest race I have ever run. It was a challenge to keep warm, while waiting over 3 hours before starting. At the end of the race, I had shivered so much, in attempts to keep warm that my back muscles hurt more than my legs. The cold and the wind still were not enough to keep the runners from enjoying and finishing the race. There were runners from over 48 different countries, speaking all different languages. At times I was waiting to hear from the loud speaker, the instructions to be given in English, wondering if I had missed the announcement to start my wave. What is so amazing about everyone being there, is that we were there from all over, many of us with different goals; but we were all there for one purpose, to finish the race. We do not need to speak the same language to understand that. We may have all trained for the race in our own different way, but we were all going to accomplish it, in the same way, with our feet. It didn't matter who we were, where we were from, how we got there, because when we were running, we all spoke the same language.
I loved how the NYC people rallied, they stretched across every single mile of the race. People cheering us on, holding their signs, "You can do it! Random Stranger!" They were clapping, giving High Fives, and ringing cow bells. There were so many things that happened before, during and after the race it was hard to capture all of them. One of the highlights was going to the PKD dinner meeting the other runners participating on Team PKD, listening to why they are running. I am always so inspired to hear what motivates other people. Whether you are diagnosed with the disease, you are running for a friend, or in honor of someone it is for a purpose and reason. And a lot of work went into not only raising money, but accomplishing the goal.
There were so many things I was thankful after completing the race. I was thankful for the trash bags and magazine that a random girl gave me before the race. They may not sound like much or even something worthy, but at the time those small things provided me much warmth before the race. I was dressed warmly but the wind was brutal and felt like ice. Those two items helped cut down the wind tremendously. At times I would pray the sun would come out, and the times it did, it felt so good to get a break from the temperatures. The warmth from the sun was enough to warm me up just for a bit. I was thankful for the people dressed up in banana suits handing out bananas at a much needed time. I was humbled by all the spectators and volunteers and the runners who gave it all they had. I am inspired by all the people who raised money for all the wonderful charities to make a difference in someone else's life. But most of all I admire all of the participants in the wheelchair division and the blind runners. All along the way the Achilles volunteer members helped guide and encourage these runners to make it to the end. We may all arrive at the start line and finish at a different time but what matters is that we showed up. A race can never be finished unless there is enough courage to start it.
A person doesn't have to train and run a marathon to accomplish something great. Is there something that you have been putting off to accomplish? Do you have the courage to start it?
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