Every race has a story. Many stories, in fact. There is a personal story for every competitor involved, whether it has to do with success, failure, pain, accomplishment, or the overcoming of a personal or emotional hurdle in order to enter and run. Here are a few stories from Sunday’s NYC Half Marathon:
- The winner, Mo Farah of Great Britain (one hour and 23 seconds), was running in his first ever race at that distance(“I knew I had speed because I just got back from the European Indoors.”)
- Track runner Galen Rupp of the U.S. finished third in one of his rare professional races, even after falling hard when he got his legs became tangled with another runner (“I don’t think it affected me too much,” he said. “Once I got over the initial shock, I told myself, ‘Relax, relax, relax.’ I tried to regain my composure and save energy for the finish.”)
- American Kara Goucher placed third (1:09:03), even more remarkable because it was just her third race since giving birth to a son on Sept. 25th.
- Women’s winner, Caroline Rotich of Kenya, finished in a personal best 1 hour, 8 minutes, 52 seconds, but that was only part of her story. When she was 14, she was recruited to run for a high school in Sendai, Japan, one of the areas hardest hit by the recent tsunami and earthquake. (“I still don’t know if the school is standing,” she said).
- Stephan Shay was running his first road race in Manhattan. As many of you know, his older brother Ryan, a two-time United States half-marathon champion, collapsed in Central Park during the United States Olympic marathon trials in 2007 and died shortly thereafter. (“It was in my head the whole time,” he said, and when he ran by the spot where his brother fell, “I looked down. I was hurting at that point. Once I passed that, I thought, I’ve got to focus and keep pushing through.”)
Part of the NYC Half Marathon course includes the popular and challenging Central Park loop. For more on running in Central Park, specifically around the famous Central Park reservoir, see my previous post here.