Running a marathon is a brave, ridiculous act of endurance and hope and derring-do and personal triumph. It transcends politics. It transcends everything. It’s a big throng of people, tens of thousands of them, all nationalities and races and religions and colors and shapes and ages, shoulder to shoulder, striving together for the same thing, to the same end: to get to the finish line.
I ran the New York City marathon in 2002, after 9/11. All the past year, I’d felt sad, helpless, angry, horrified, devastated, shocked, all the things everyone else around me was feeling. Running the marathon went beyond the personal to the civic, communal, soulful.
While I was training, I raised money for an independently funded track program for inner-city kids, which let me feel I was helping someone, somehow; I needed that. On race day, after years of watching from the sidelines, it was a thrill to join the crowd pounding and sweating their way through all five boroughs.
A few miles from the finish line, I started crying: there I was, in Central Park, I’d made it. With less than two miles to go, I stopped running to hobble, wrung out and in pain. The runner next to me cheered me on. We’d been running side by side since the Bronx; I listened to him and ran the rest of the way. After I crossed the finish line, euphoric, I was grinning and high on endorphins and relief and pride, walking around with a space blanket over my shoulders, my legs shaking.
Who would bomb the finish line of a marathon? Why?
This morning, I poached some eggs and served them over spicy kidney beans with avocado alongside and Cholula chipotle hot sauce on top. We couldn’t finish our breakfasts; this almost never happens.