NYC Marathoners to Power Through All Five Boroughs Sunday

By Shannon Liao, Epoch Times
October 30, 2014 Updated: October 30, 2014

NEW YORK—It’s Queens native Kojima Toshifumi’s 17th time participating in the city marathon, but he still finds it fun. 

“I’m more patient because of it,” said Kojima, 55, a computer programmer. “Because you need a lot of patience to make it through.”

When he feels like he can’t go on, he’s encouraged by the cheers of the crowds, whether it’s fellow Japanese or Americans. 

For the upcoming Sunday marathon, New Yorkers and tourists alike will have to summon up every ounce of willpower to finish all 26.2 miles.

In the world’s largest marathon that stretches through all five boroughs, both amateurs and Olympians are invited to attend.

About 140,000 people signed up, but there was only enough space for 50,000 runners and wheelers, said Mary Wittenberg, president of New York Road Runners, which organizes the annual event. 

Last year’s marathon did away with backpacks, ordering runners to bring clear plastic bags. The heightened security made people feel safer according to social media feedback, said counterterrorism chief James Waters, at a Thursday press conference.

Florencia Galarza, 29, DJ and model, at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, Oct. 30, 2014. (Petr Svab/Epoch Times)
Florencia Galarza, 29, DJ and model: “I will be 30 years old soon and 10 years I’ve lived in New York, so I wanted to do something really special, like a milestone. I’ve never run a race before, but I’ve played soccer my entire life so I have that athletic build in me. For training, I just did what you’re supposed to do. I practiced outdoor running, because I’m a gym person. It’s like the coolest thing ever, all of my friends who’ve run it said, ‘You’re going to feel amazing!’ It’s a memory, it’s a milestone. It’s epic.”

Police Commissioner William Bratton promised even more security this year.

On edge from lone wolf attacks and Ebola, New Yorkers can use the marathon to rejuvenate.

“Twenty-six miles without a red light, when does that happen anywhere?” joked Bratton.

Mayor Bill de Blasio quoted famous marathoner Katherine Switzer, saying, “If you’re ever losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”

De Blasio added, “There’s something about the endurance, the spirit, the ability to do something beyond the human grasp that inspires us.”

Kojima’s colleague at a software company, Bruce Ginyard, 50, also runs. He talks to himself when the going gets tough in the race.

“I’ll say, ‘just one more mile, one more mile,’ for every mile,” he said.

Laura Moretti, 32, registered dietitian, at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, Oct. 30, 2013. (Shannon Liao/Epoch Times)
Laura Moretti, 32, registered dietitian: “The year of Hurricane Sandy…I was supposed to run in New York, so this has been a long-time coming for me. Extremely excited. I worked with a coach, so I had a solid training plan. So it was just a lot of getting proper rest, proper nutrition, and proper hydration. Definitely this week has been a lot of sleep and a lot of hydration. I’m a big believer in putting good things in your body and fueling yourself. A lot of times, for me, I think about difficult periods in my life and just things that I’ve overcome personally and kind of telling myself, if I got through that, then I can do this. I think of friends or family members that have struggled with things or currently are struggling with things, that motivates me too.”

A Herculean Effort

Three-time Olympian Meb Keflezighi said that he gives every race his all and sometimes the result is good, but other times, he struggles. It resembles life’s ups and downs.

Once, he said, he felt like his body shut down. “But I thought, you know what? I want to get to that finish line, no matter how long it takes.”

And another time while running a marathon, he said, “I was taking on the world. I got chills, it was the most gratifying moment.”

Kids can start running too, just a mile or two at a time. 

“Perseverance, time management, discipline, and hard work. If we can teach our youth that, we’d have a better society,” said Keflezighi.

Ginyard, whose son was on the track team in school, said, “I encourage him to run. Running helps you take better care of your body and be more aware of what’s going on, what you eat.”

Sunday’s race begins at 9 a.m. in Staten Island, then crossing over to Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and ending in the midst of Central Park.

Bruce Ginyard, 50, computer programmer, at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, Oct. 30, 2014. (Petr Svab/Epoch Times)
Bruce Ginyard, 50, computer programmer: “This will be my first marathon. I did the Long Island marathon. I live in Long Island, I grew up in New York City. I really started running three or four years ago, so I just kind of built up to the point now, where I can run a marathon. I am very excited, looking forward to it. It takes willpower. You just have to decide you’re going to do it. You’re going to get to the finish. There’s no stopping. You’re going to get there. As you get tired, just one more mile, just one more mile. I say that many times. I think overall people are very excited to do it. It’s a challenge, but just to see the crowds, it’s like a big party. Everybody’s looking forward to it.”